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FLYING LEAVES 

FROM 

EAST AND WEST. 



FLYING LEAVES 



EAST AND WEST. 



EMILY PFEIFFER. 



-H-M- 



Hontron: 

FIELD AND TUER, THE LEADENHALL PRESS, E.G. 

SIMPKTN, MARSHALL & CO. ; HAMILTON, ADAMS & CO. 

NEW YORK : SCRIBNER AND WELFORD. 



.VS2 






f.^^'^^ 




FIELD &^ TUER, 
I*. '^ TrtEj I^ApBNHjVLL PRESS, E.C. 
(T? 4246) 



.• • • _ • • • 



• • • • 



• : • : •.• 



^c^^C 



FLYING LEAVES 

FROM THE EAST. 



-O X '> o t> L 



LEAF I. 

IT has usually been my lot, as it is that of most others 
of the less able and adventurous, to have, in roaming 
about the world, to make my observations of its novel 
aspects from the standpoint of one of those great 
caravansaries, the cosmopolitan hotel. Far be it from 
me to asperse with unmitigated contempt an institution 
but for which all the less trodden parts of the earth would 
effectually have been removed beyond my reach ; but I 
think it undeniable that a set of conditions more un- 
favourable to the apprehension of the facts and the 
appreciation of the lessons to be gathered from a new 
outlook upon life, it would be hard to conceive of than 
that afforded by these bewildering halting-places. 

Once only has it been my good fortune, in visiting a 
region of surpassing interest, to find a home beneath a 
roof not plumped down all alien to its surroundings like 
the houses in a child's toy-box, but one which was the 
harmonious outcome of its environment. Better even 

than this : not in all the lovely village of , within a 

few miles of Homer's Smyrna, could hired accommodation 
have been procured if wanted — better, that is, for those 
who were independent of such accommodation. From 



4 FLYING LEAVES. 

this resulted a true tinct of local colour, with a sense of 
restfulness and poetic charm, which, apart from other 
and more intimate personal causes, would have sufficed 
to place the month spent in this paradise in a category 
by itself. 

A week at sea ; a gale in the Mediterranean ; the new 
experience of those who for the first time " go down to 
the sea in ships ; " then calm, such calm as is nowhere 
found but in floating over a summery sea; the white 
pyramid of Etna ; the long days which were yet too short — 
days you could have wished to last for ever ; the sun's 
bright path upon the blue Ionian ; the Isles of Greece 
touched with the day's departing glory. After that, the 
night of expectation ; the morning waking at sound of a 
familiar voice ; the dressing in haste ; the sunrise on the 
Bay of Smyrna ; the motley population of its wharfs — 
Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Albanians, negroes, and Jews ; the 
drive over the jolting streets, so jolting that they shook 
your words to pieces, and might in time have turned the 
very milk of human kindness ; the still rough country 
road, haunted with a suspicion of brigands; the soft music 
of the camel-bells announcing a procession of the strange 
animals laden with their many-coloured bales ; and, for a 
wind-up, still more jolting as you entered the village, and 
passed in miraculous safety the many yawning pitfalls of 
its broken pavement ; a steep ascent through the narrow 
street, with Turkish houses, gateways, courtyards, and 
gUmpses of fountains on either side; and then — well, 
then a meeting such as the heart holds in tenderest 
memory for ever, and for which there is no occasion here 



FROM THE EAST. 

to speak. A point had been reached which had been 
the longing desire of half a life. 

I will describe this house on the hill, because, more or 
less, its features are common to others in this place. 
There hangs over the outer gate a wreath, now faded, 
but which is renewed every first of May. A summons at 
this portal will ordinarily bring. the gardener, a hand- 
some Greek peasant, much attached to the family, but 
whose every professional act needs watching, the sense 
of responsible duty being as yet unborn in the Greek of 
Asia Minor. The gate opens upon a garden of perhaps 
two acres, much sub-divided, with the semi-Oriental- 
looking house in the midst. This house, built in a land 
of earthquakes, has but one floor above the basement, 
^ which is entered by a door placed between a double 

I^P flight of converging steps terminating in a verandah. 
Creepers still rich in autumn tints (it is now December) 
wind round the pillars and festoon the roof of this last, 
upon which the saloon opens by a glazed door and side 
windows. Rarely is the house entered by any door but 
this, the guests presenting themselves with unerring 
confidence of welcome ; the ladies unbonneted, with a 
veil or light shawl upon the head. The saloon is a fair- 
proportioned room, with deep, well-cushioned divans 
against the walls, fine Persian carpets upon the floor, 
and abundance of easy chairs; a grand piano, a stove 
of fair white porcelain, and a view from the windows 
which, though not very extensive, is a characteristic 
" bit " of eastern landscape, and would be sufficient 

III at sunset to glorify a cabin. A smaller room opening 



6 FLYING LEAVES. 

immediately to the left of the entrance door, has the 
same luxurious feature of the deep divans, with the 
addition in its midst of the distinctive Smyrniot institu- 
tion of the tandour. This last is a table, necessarily of 
metal, at the base of which is a sort of stove, the heat 
being retained by a quilted coverlet, in the present 
instance, of amber satin. Around this centre the warmth- 
loving Anglo-Asiatics love to congregate, scorching 
their knees and their satin slippers while disappearing 
almost to the chin beneath the heat-conducting cover ; 
and here doubtless many an affair is arranged for their 
neighbours, to the personal satisfaction of the contriving 
parties. 

The abode I describe is a house of many doors and 
few passages. The boudoir with the tandour leads into 
a bedroom, which opens again into the saloon. This 
chamber, with a bed which might on a pinch accommodate 
the Seven Sleepers — a bed like a little island in its midst, 
surrounded by a vaporous mist of white muslin — has a 
singular air of comfort and freshness, the former being 
due in part to the presence of the ever-recurring divan. 
From its jalousied windows are visible, on the other side 
of the garden, the white walls with courses patterned in 
red, and the vivid green sun-blinds of the nearest 
neighbour. As you look out on it, you think of Morocco ; 
but you are, in fact, in a better place. A closet heated by 
a stove, and with abundant bathing apparatus, connects 
the bedroom with the dressing-room, which, finishing 
the suite, opens out upon the hall, from whence you 
arrive at the dining-room rejoicing in an open English 



FROM THE EAST. 7 

stove, the offices, and the only staircase in the house, 
the one leading to the basement. Circumstances modify 
habits, and in this region, where the bosom of the 
earth is so often deeply agitated, an additional security 
seems to be felt in going " down " instead of " up " to 
bed. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of this 
semi-Eastern abode is a terrace, which forms the roof of 
an outhouse built against the garden wall, and overlooks 
the road beyond it. This terrace, reached by a steep 
flight of steps, is looked upon as a position of vantage 
from which to survey, and at whiles to communicate with, 
the outer world. It is here that the Greek handmaiden, 
Helene or Chrysanthe, having finished her work, takes 
the cream of the day, and, hanging over the parapet with 
a flower in her hair, gives a smile or a word to a passing 
friend ; it is here that the sun is seen to go down into 
the waters of the bay, watched to the last by the twin 
mountains called the " Brothers ; " and it is here that 
at night, when the stars come out, you seem to be nearer 
to the jewelled belt of Orion, and to the eternal silence. 
Not far off is a spreading plane tree, where family and 
friends congregate in warm weather ; but the orange-trees 
are not then as we see them now, burning with golden 
fruit in the white winter sunshine — with fruit which, but 
that we know it is juicy and sweet, we might take for 
the apples of the Hesperides. 

All the year round the garden yields its produce, 
supplying endless desserts and vegetable courses, and 
perhaps the entire sustenance of the Greek gardener, his 
wife, and five children. Oranges, lemons, pomegranates, 



8 FLYING LEAVES. 

dried figs, prunes, and grapes are in unending abundance 
at the present season. Comparing with this the results 
of horticulture in the neighbourhood of our great towns 
at home, we are constrained to feel in how pitiful a state 
of valetudinarianism our poor vegetable fellow-creatures 
there exist. But the soil of Asia Minor is indeed so rich 
that it might well have suggested to Sydney Smith the 
happy idea, that it need but be " tickled with a hoe in 
order to laugh with a harvest." 

It was due to the happy circumstances in which we 
found ourselves at this time that, instead of being 
thrown for the satisfaction of social needs upon the hap- 
hazard propinquities of a table-d' hoie^ we were admitted 
at once to the heart of a circle between which and our- 
selves there had long been some mutual interchange. 
It was thus that, a few evenings after our arrival, we 
came to be guests at a marriage ceremony and feast 
after the Anglo-Greek fashion. A natural tact of adjust- 
ment, a sense of beauty and fitness, would seem to linger 
in the air of this region, in which Greek genius, with the 
fresh tint upon it of the newly opened blossom, found 
such early expansion. The decoration of light foliage 
which marked the structural lines of the little Protestant 
church was singularly happy ; and the rows of lighted 
tapers (for the religious ceremony took place in the 
evening) which surmounted the cornice, and crossed 
and recrossed the building, would also have been worthy 
of praise but for the waxen shower which rained from 
it upon the heads and wedding garments of the assistants. 
The bride was the last remaining light of home, and 



FROM THE EAST. 9 

youngest darling of a large and happy family, and the 
hearts of the whole community were with her and her 
people as she stood before the altar, under the swaying 
fronds of the palms, surrounded by her bevy of maiden 
friends. As the carriage set us down at the garden 
gates of the beautiful villa which was the home she was 
quitting, the moon made a fairer and scarcely less 
radiant day, its pallor alternating with the hues of the 
Bengal lights burnt in honour of the occasion. The 
fair young bride, in a little sphere of perfume exhaled 
from the orange-blossoms on her head and in her hand, 
was already in place, with her court around her, re- 
ceiving the congratulations of some two hundred guests, 
and the kisses of more than half that number. One 
looked to see her cheeks wear away like the digits of 
some hardly entreated Madonna ; but no such effect took 
place, for, having survived the ordeal at the lips of the 
ladies, enough of spirit and strength were left to carry 
her through what awaited at the hands of the sterner 
sex. If a test of stamina had been demanded before 
entering the marriage state, one could hardly have been 
better devised. Not a man with a leg to stand upon 
but claimed a fraction of a valse from the newly made 
bride, whose white train and floating veil flashed round 
with the untiring regularity of the foaming water of a 
mill-wheel. Only once, with a partner who got more 
than his due, was the movement sensibly accelerated. 

At balls at home we know nothing; the people we 
meet are mere masks, and vanish with the occasion, we 
know not whither. But at all that is not revealed 



lO FLYING LEAVES. 

is guessed, and I with others am fully aware that that 
young man who is so grasping in his dealings with the 
bride, has been for years her devoted slave, only de- 
spairing when that other more favoured one appeared 
upon the scene. We all look on at this wild pas de 
fascination with keen emotional interest, and understand 
something of the ecstatic pain felt by the unfortunate 
lover in this final draining of the cup. But a word, a 
whisper at this moment, coming we know not whence, 
goes forth, telling of the sudden sickness of the host, 
and behind the dancing, the stream of talk, and the 
looks of unconcern assumed in obedience to the wish 
of the entertainers, is clearly felt that electric throb 
which tells of a common solicitude. The crowd of 
valsers has become less, as one by one the couples 
have fallen off; only that man who seems to have put 
his life with all it had of hope into the moment, still 
whirls the unconscious bride around the vortex which 
his own passion seems to have swept clear of every 
outside thought. 

It is a relief to us all when we see the still smiling 
girl, her tulle a little torn, and her flowers faded, seated 
on a divan in a quiet corner beside the man of her 
choice. And there we leave her to the customs of her 
country, and betake ourselves in the moonlight to the 
perils of the streets. More dances and many dinners 
succeed to this, and in all the moonlight plays its part. 
The gardens are large, and the carriages discharge their 
occupants at the outer gates, whence they are left to 
saunter past fountains, and among oranges, lemons, and 



FROM THE EAST. II 

cypresses, to the illuminated mansions, whereto, failing 
such appeals to sight, they would be guided by the 
sounds of music. 

But not as arrayed in this luminous pallor does the 
scenery of this Eastern village most linger in the mind. 
I hope I may some day again feel satisfied with the 
colour of the world as it is my everyday lot to see it ; 
at present I am driven to injurious comparison. The 
" decoration," all that is scenic in life and its surround- 
ings, is in so richly and so variously tinted, that 

after it the harmonies of an English spring appear 
monotonous. The mountains, near or far, take upon 
themselves so soft a depth of azure j that sea, still blue, 
but lighter and warmer in tone than the Mediterranean, 
is like a turquoise melting in the sun ; the lingering 
leaves of the planes and maples hang upon the dis- 
tance in rich gradations of red and yellow gold; the 
oranges, amid their dark leaves, burn like coloured 
lamps ; the darker obelisks of the cypresses rise 
solemnly in their places and soar into the thin blue air ; 
the ruddy limbs of the pines glow as if with inward fire, 
while their myriad organ-pipes are thrilled aloft by the 
passing breeze ; the soft flat tints of the feathery olive are 
a tender go-between, and harmonize all. This at mid- 
day ; but there comes a sunset, and later a twilight hour, 
when the light which you thought had never been on 
land or sea or sky, seems mysteriously to overspread all. 
This would most often occur as we sat at close of day 
in the saloon, opening upon the balcony. The sun, as 
he prepared himself for his plunge into the bay, would 




12 FLYING LEAVES. 

pass from glory to glory ; upon a sky transparent as 
chrysolite, clouds would flash into sudden view, dis- 
appear, and reform like molten jewels. Not the horizon 
alone, but the entire heaven to the zenith and beyond 
it, was alive and in motion with his parting message. It 
was as if, the work of the day being done, he had taken 
this hour for his own delight. Then the words would 
die upon our lips as we watched, the glory would 
deepen, the clouds melt into the amber light, the tall 
spires of the cypresses grow solemnly dark, the outlines 
of the mountains become firm, their colour mysteriously 
blue. At this moment that window over the divan was 
as the background of a Holy Family by Lorenzo di 
Credi, and among the shadows which deepened around 
us, the kneeHng angels who took part in their evening 
worship, would not have seemed wholly out of place. 



{ 13 ) 



LEAF 11. 

THE bazaars at Smyrna show a very motley crowd, 
and their transit is not without danger from the 
turban ed men on Httle Albanian horses, who would ride 
over you ; the camels, who would trample you ; and the 
.bearers of burthens, to wit, a wardrobe, a piano, or a 
chest of drawers, who would knock you down with as 
little compunction. You early get to feel that you must 
look to yourself, realizing of how very small account 
your life is to any other in this alien world. The proud 
mien of the camels might alone be enough to teach you 
your place ; the eyes of these creatures are so haughty, 
and they " torse7it " you, as the French say, from such a 
height. But their scorn is not the worst of what you 
may have to endure from them. If they are always 
contemptuous, they are sometimes fierce, and will bite 
a piece out of your arm, which, when you turn to look for, 
you will find them ruminating in a sort of desert calm, 
apparently plunged in thoughts which are high above 
your head, and altogether conducting themselves in a 
manner exasperating to the wounded and the wound. 
We made a point of giving these sullenly protesting 




14 FLYING LEAVES. 

servitors of man a wide berth, but the scene being 
wonderfully novel and engaging, you are apt to be taken 
unaware. 

The alleys of these crowded bazaars are narrow, and 
not roofed in like those of Constantinople, the rich 
colours of their merchandise showing the richer for the 
wide blue dome which is their sole continent overhead. 
Here you see a fruit-stall, with its mountain of ripe 
oranges set off by their own leaves and flowers, its 
branches of pendent lemons, its pomegranates, and its 
melons. Next to that will be a magazine of carpets, 
with the turban of a grave, black-bearded Turk nodding 
peacefully in the shadow. Then a vendor of arms, of 
Damascus blades, and Damascened rifles and scimitars ; 
an eating-booth, with sticks of succulent kabobs frizzling 
before a fire, and Turkish dainties in honey and sugar ; 
two or three cobblers at work in a stall, surrounded by 
a forest of embroidered slippers ; a bevy of ladies, with 
a merchant of silk, unfolding his bales to their critical 
view — these last arrayed mostly in black feringhees (a 
sort of domino eclipsing the person), their large darkly 
fringed eyes, long eyebrows, and sallow paleness appear- 
ing through the yashmak of bluish-white muslin. A negress 
will usually be seen squatting a little apart, and the quick 
glances and sudden flashes of mirth of this not yet adult 
race, contrast strangely with the dying graces of their 
Turkish mistresses. Further on you will probably 
encounter, picking their way with the heedful daintiness 
of cats, ostentatiously under cover of their parasols, a 
little party of Turkish dames possibly of lower rank. 



FROM THE EAST. 1 5 

They are also muffled in the feringhee, and have on 
their faces the regulation yashmak, but not of white 
muslin. It is a veil thrown over the head, and worn 
under the head-dress, of which veil the ground colour 
is a beet-root red, variegated with a pattern in black 
and white. A hideous suggestion of tatooing is the 
result of this face gear, doubly hideous by reason of the 
sanguinary hue imparted to the countenance, and the 
lines of the pattern traversing those of the features. 
The women thus disguised have all the appearance of 
monsters. Three of them, under convoy of a eunuch, 
caught sight of and spotted me as a fresh importation 
from some outlandish people, and called a halt. 

"You are a stranger, cocona?" (lady). 

'' Yes, I am a stranger." 

" You come to us from a far country ? " 

"Yes, a long way, by land and sea." 

" Are you content with what you have found among us? " 

" More than content. I find your country beautiful 
above all, I delight in your sunshine." 

" Does not the sun shine with you ? " 

" Sometimes ; but often we cannot see it for smoke." 

General consternation, and looks of admiring pity, 
chiefly directed to my new velvet dolman, which they 
suppose might at home be invisible. 

" What is the name of this dark country?" 

" It is called England." 

" We have heard of England. You are welcome here, 
cocona ; we are proud that you admire our country, for 
your own is a fine country, too, when it can be seen." 




1 6 FLYING LEAVES. 

All this is Greek, which C translates, pronounced 

with much grace and natural charm. It was a pleasant 
little incident, one calculated to whet the appetite for 
further communication with these poor custom-bound 
sisters, survivals of a not yet foregone tyranny. 

Not long after, this desire was fulfilled in a visit to the 
harem of the ex-governor, Midhat Pasha. A French 
lady married to a Turk was our introducer. We went to 

Smyrna from by rail, and were met at the station 

by the adventurous Mussulman. Any one less like a 
reformer or innovator than this subdued and down- 
looking young man it would be difficult to imagine ; it 
may be supposed he had exhausted his powers in that 
direction in the one effort of his marriage with a Frank. 
The house of the Franco-Turkish lady was beautifully 
kept, and she herself we found to be a pretty, fair, and 
kindly young woman, satisfied enough with her Turkish 
lord, but disgusted, as she had likely enough reason to be, 
with the cavils and vexatious surveillance of her Moham- 
medan connections. Nature, in its system of adjustments, 
had not overlooked this fair Gaul, from whose inborn 
cunning the weapons were evolved with which she was 
able to meet the difficulties of her peculiar situation. 
During an absence of the Turkish husband at Constanti- 
nople, the poor lady was pelted upon every occasion by 
mother and sisters-in-law with expletives which the tone 
and manner of utterance assured her were other than 
complimentary. 

Now, her experience of harem life had already shown 
her that tales carried to the head of the house were 



FROM THE EAST. 1 7 

received generally with stolid indifference, if not with in- 
credulity ; and thus the clever little Frenchwoman devised 
a scheme by which her grievances should be made to prove 
themselves. She feigned to be seized with a meritorious 
desire to surprise her lord with her progress in the 
Turkish tongue, and to this end employed her leisure 
during his absence in making a list of all the injurious 
nouns and adjectives which were being hourly applied to 
her by his female relations. On the morning after his 
return she brought out the register, and sweetly 
demanded of him the translation of the foully offensive 
epithets into her native French. She assured me that 
the pleasure of adding some startling variety to her list, 
had supported her under the circumstances as nothing 
else could have done. If the state of things in that 
Turkish household at this crisis was not peace, the 
French lady could afford to retire from the conflict, and 
see the battle raging between the tyrant and his subjects. 
The bed she had made for herself was perhaps not one 
of roses, but such as it was she seemed to thrive upon 
it, since she was fast approaching in size and weight the 
ideal of Turkish beauty. 

It was not without interest that we watched this 
lady prepare her person for the visit in hand. First we 
saw her French furbelows subside into the handsome 
black silk feringhee ; next we watched her pin the yash- 
mak over her little velvet pork-pie hat ; thirdly, we beheld 
her made resplendent for this morning call in a thick 
gold chain, to which was attached an enormous diamond 
locket. This last costly adjunct gave a more character- 

c 



15 FLYING LEAVES. 

istically Oriental character to the proceeding, in that we 
had been led to believe the monetary position of the 
reforming young Turk to be far from easy. But I believe 
a Turkish lady, still more one grafted on a Parisian stock, 
would suffer herself to be pinched, if need be squeezed 
to death, before she would present herself in a haremlik 
without diamonds. 

Our conductress being at length made ready, we took 
carriage, and arrived, after unutterable jolting, the very 
blood in our veins milled like chocolate, at a low, ram- 
bling, walled-in house in the Turkish quarter, whereof 
the door was guarded by a tall black eunuch whose 
hideous features wore that look of fatuous self-assertion 
peculiar to his class. Without stirring from his post, this 
dark policeman flashed upon each of us in turn, the bull's- 
eye of his searching glance. It was observed that it 
rested longer on me than on the others ; it may be that, 
" being more than common tall," he imagined I might be 
" suited " like a woman without being properly entitled 
to such equipment. Satisfied to all appearance with the 
result of his observations, he let us pass, and we entered 
a courtyard, of which the Turkish house formed two of the 
angles, and a wall overtopped by the branches of orange 
and lemon trees, the third. 

In this court, and in the chambers through which we 
subsequently passed, we encountered an old negress 
scooping out the contents of a pipkin ; a mulatto woman 
coming from the laundry with a basket on her head ; 
and through open doors and little disorderly vistas here 
and there, shadowy figures slowly, very slowly moving, or 



FROM THE EAST. 1 9 

more frequently, as became their Eastern character, 
"plunged," if not in "thought," in a semblance of the 
deepest repose. 

There is nothing more costly and unproductive than a 
Turkish household. Looking at all this helpless femin- 
inity in the deserted harem of the ex-governor, I was 
reminded of the answer made by an involved French 
noble to his man of business, when the latter was 
protesting against the presence on the estate of so many 
useless mouths. 

" You could do very well without some of them," said 
the lawyer, 

" Just so," returned his client ; " but I can't feel sure 
that any of them could do without me." 

There is small doubt that the pressure of this 
domestic incubus has been the chief agent in bringing 
about that atrophy, that loss of will and working power, 
which is the present condition of the Turks. It is their 
perverted womankind, grown feeble and corrupt in the 
close atmosphere of the harem, who are dragging and 
holding them down. Come what may, these useless, 
these even mischievous mouths have to be fed; and it 
is not out of character when they are maintained upon 
rapine and murder. 

But, in truth, the harem of Midhat Pasha offered no 
appearance of senseless luxury ; it was, on the contrary, 
simple, and, in comparison with Turkish harems gene- 
rally, well and soberly kept, and seemingly sad in the 
absence of its lord. 

On the landing at the head of the flight of wooden 




20 FLYING LEAVES. 

Stairs stood the chief wife and lady of the house, waiting 
to receive us. Madame Midhat is a woman of fifty or 
thereabouts; a pasha's daughter, she has brought her 
husband some wealth; is said to be intelligent, and is 
not without influence on Midhat ; * and, through all 
the superficial differences of manner and appearance, is 
manifestly a lady. Though not plain, there was some- 
thing which in the eyes of a foreigner made her person 
slightly grotesque. The face was large, a common 
peculiarity in the women of her race, the strongly 
marked features still further accentuated by the addi- 
tions which art had made to nature — the reinforced 
arch of the eyebrows, and the hard lines which enclosed 
the eyes. The lady's hair was black, and brought 
forward at the sides in a manner which imparted a 
virile look to the strongly featured face. Bound about 
her head was a kerchief of black muslin, fringed 
with many-coloured lace, decorated with bobs and 
flowers. A long loose robe of figured Manchester 
cotton, shaped like a tea-gown, added to the impression 
of massiveness an appearance of height which com- 
parison showed to be fallacious. But the wife of Midhat 
Pasha, whatever might be her aspect, was one whose 
manner well supported the dignity of her position. 

When we had each received the gracious welcome of 
the elder, it became the turn of the second wife to step 
forward, which she did, leading one of her children, 
from whom she seemed to derive a sort of reflected 
consideration, and who were indeed the poor thing's 
* At the time this was written Midhat Pasha was still living. 



PROM THE EAST. 21 

"excuse for being." The younger wife had been bought 
for a sum which seemed always to recur to the mind of 
every one in connection with her, as if her value had for 
good and all been ascertained, and was known to be 
very little. She was said to be totally without education 
or training of any sort, and as the beauty she possessed 
could hardly be accounted remarkable, it may be con- 
jectured that "thrift" had something to do with her 
acquisition. We had heard of wild scenes of which this 
Turkish household was occasionally the theatre, but to 
all appearance the relative positions of the two principal 
inmates was so well defined that we could not but 
doubt the report. No lady trained in the polite practice 
of social warfare in a Parisian salon could have imparted 
to her voice a more delicate inflection than did this 
pasha's wife and daughter when indicating the subordinate 
position of the women who had been bought — for so 
little money. 

The apartment into which we followed Madame 
Midhat was small, and, contrary to expectation, deli- 
cately clean. Divans ranged round the walls, gave to the 
apartment that look of luxurious ease which our elaborate 
upholstery fails to accomplish. Small mattresses, on a 
still lower level, were spread here and there at the 
foot of the divans \ and on one of these at the upper 
end of the room the wife-in-chief took her place. 
Behind her was a window overlooking the orange garden, 
and commanding a view of the very Oriental-looking 
houses of this quarter, as with their jalousies and balconies 
they seemed mounting roof above roof the steep side of 




2 2 FLYING LEAVES. 

the old Acropolis of Homer's Smyrna. As Madame 
Midhat sat thus throned almost upon the floor, the 
sunshine playing in her abundant side locks brought out 
the hue of the henna with which her hair was stained, 
and the blood-red shimmer imparted for the moment 
something of terrible to what had seemed to us the 
merely grotesque of her appearance. If there was a 
lurking devil in the younger woman, it was certainly very 
well hidden. Nothing more apathetic, more stagnant, 
than the countenance of this poor creature, as her limbs 
not ungracefully fell together upon a divan near the door, 
can be imagined. Her large and leaden eyes, made 
more heavy by their darkened rims ; the formal arches of 
her eyebrows; her stolid nose (it would have been a 
relief had it been ever so little crooked) ; the small 
mouth, with the dejected corners ; and the greenish drab 
tint, which is, perhaps, of all colours that the human 
skin can take, the least engaging, made up a picture of 
vacuity, mental and moral, from which you felt to shrink 
as from some bottomless deep. No semblance of interest 
in the talk or the talkers seemed for a moment to 
animate this automaton, who presented in this respect a 
strong contrast to the statuesque figures of the two slave 
women standing in waiting, one on either side of the 
door, their arms folded into their loose sleeves, im- 
movable as if cast in bronze, but with light enough in 
the flashing eyes turned upon each of us as we took up 
the word, to animate them from head to foot. After the 
questions customary among human vessels who encounter 
each other in strange latitudes, the " Where do you come 



FROM THE EAST. 



23 



from ? " " What's your cargo ? " " Whither bound ? " with 
which acquaintance is begun, Madame Midhat sat con- 
templating us for some moments in silence, but fetching 
heavy sighs, which, though probably true to the general 
tenour of her feelings, had something of an artificial and 
perfunctory air at the moment. She continued to look 
at us, as if to ascertain from critical observation the 
effect of these discharges ; and then, in the deep organ 
tones peculiar to the Turkish woman, she put to us the 
difficult question — 

" What are the English going to do with Midhat ? " 
We were unprepared with an answer, and said rather 
helplessly, that so far as we knew they were not going 
to do anything at all. Whereupon the lady launched 
into a speech of considerable length, in which w^e under- 
stood her to be demonstrating in fluent Turkish the 
moral impossibility that the particular people to which 
we belonged should in the end remain deaf to the 
appeal of suffering virtue. We felt the implied compli- 
ment to our country, and were indeed touched by the 
situation of the woman whose days were so evidently 
darkened, and whose life was still further narrowed by 
the misfortunes of her lord ; but not daring to minister 
to false hope, we assured her we were unattached and 
insignificant persons only travelling for our pleasure, and 
having no influence or special knowledge of our Govern- 
ment or its counsels. Our hostess accepted our account 
of ourselves with a touch of disappointment, but was 
too well bred to abate aught of her attentions, in view 
of our small desert. Sweetmeats had been served to 




24 FLYING LEAVES. 

US, and now, in the daintiest of cups, each with its little 
filigree and enamelled stand, came black coffee, our 
French friend having obtained for us quittance of the 
nargileh. We expressed our admiration of the beautiful 
little stand, of which we were with some difficulty master- 
ing the use ; whereupon Madame Midhat remarked 
superbly, but in melancholy reference to her own present 
poverty, that such things were commonly encrusted with 
jewels. Perhaps, what most struck us as differentiating 
the manners of the Turkish lady from our own, was the 
rapid alternation from grave to gay. From sighing like 
a furnace at any pause in the conversation, Madame 
Midhat at the slightest provocation would be laughing 
with infantile gaiety. Her chief subject of complaint, 
beyond the uncertainty which attended Midhat's fate, 
was the close confinement which the circumstance of 
this separation forced upon his female belongings — con- 
finement so unbroken that they had lost the power of 
walking, almost of standing, from the swelling of the 
feet and legs. We thought this a not unfavourable 
opportunity to inquire if the Turkish ladies generally, 
and Madame Midhat in particular, did not desire and 
hope for some change in the condition of their lives. 
We were assured in answer that they did, but that there 
were many difficulties in the way. A humble petition 
had even been sent to Midhat at Constantinople (through 
the medium, as we found, of the atrocious eunuch), pray- 
ing that a drive of two hours once a week might be 
accorded them. Their prayer had been graciously 
listened to, but public opinion on the spot had been 



FROM THE EAST. 2 5 

too Strong for individual amenity afar off. That the 
wives and children of the ex-governor should be junket- 
ting while the man who owned them was rotting in 
prison, became the theme of scandal throughout the 
whole Turkish quarter, and the coveted indulgence had 
in the end to be foregone. 

We tried to make it clear that our question had com- 
prehended wider issues, but it was evident that at this 
point we became unintelligible to our interlocutor. It 
was difficult to say whether it was owing to the divergent 
roads taken by our thoughts, to defective interpretation, 
or to an orthodox horror on Madame Midhat's part of 
entering upon a question of such bold profanity ; certain 
it is, that all our efforts to illicit her views upon the future 
of the women of her people were ineffectual. I saw 
plainly that nothing could have got her to admit the 
revolutionary notion that women could go abroad, or 
dwell at home, otherwise than under the guard and 
tutelage of eunuchs. To have smuggled such an idea 
into her head, it would have been necessary to trepan 
her. As that was not to be thought of, I sat digesting 
my disappointment in silence, and it so happened that 
my eyes rested on a sort of little stand, the surface of 
which was made into the semblance of a garden, the 
grass being of worsted, very green, the shrubs also of 
worsted and wire, with crudely coloured hyacinths and 
heartsease stuck here and there amongst the flowers, 
and a dicky-bird, a very bright yellow canary, in the 
midst. As Madame Midhat felt it clearly impossible 
that this object should be regarded with other than 



26 



FLYING LEAVES. 



interest, she politely pushed it towards me to facilitate 
further study. A slightly embarrassing moment followed, 
owing to the consciousness on my part that neither words 
nor facial expression were yielding what was expected 
of them j but an apparition which presented itself in 
the doorway at this juncture, called off the attention 
of the company from the pitiful toy. 

The slave women were still in mute attendance, one 
on either side of \he porfihe ; but the curtain had been 
silently lifted, and, glaring upon us from the opening, 
filling up the entire framework of the door with his 
bloated person, there fell upon the chamber the shadow 
of the black eunuch, the representative of the master 
in his absence. As this deplorable being carried his 
insulting gaze from one to the other of us, a deep silence 
fell upon the party. Madame Midhat No. i had re- 
covered her majestic attitude, and occupied her low 
throne apparently unconscious of, in any case unresent- 
ing, the outrage of this intrusion. Madame Midhat No. 
2 not so much as raised her heavy eyes ; the shining 
orbs of the serving women continued to turn about in 
their dark orbits ; and the little daughter of Midhat, hang- 
ing upon her mother's knee, was equally unconcerned. 
To us alone it appeared atrocious that the will in these 
human creatures should have been suppressed ; that the 
brain of the elder wife, probably large and powerful as 
became its environment, should have been condemned 
to perish in atrophy ; and that the motherhood of the 
younger should be regarded only from its brutal side. 
The whole tale of the wicked and impotent old East rose 



FROM THE EAST. 27 

before us in this picture, and at the moment we would 
gladly have set fire to that Turkish quarter, and have 
freed those poor captives stagnating within it ; only we 
knew they would have perished helplessly in the streets, 
set upon like caged birds who have lost the instincts 
and natural cunning of their kind. 

Having sat out the last course of Turkish hospitality, 
we took our leave of these unhappy women, upon whom 
time seemed to hang with the weight of lead. At the 
gate we passed their black guardian, a monster who to 
civilized eyes looked almost fabulous. As he gazed 
down upon us from his vast height, with a grotesque 
arrogance, his swollen pride yet ineffectual to smooth 
out the wrinkles of his blasted youth, we thought of all 
the treasure of wasted womanhood still existing in the 
needy overworked world, and we said to ourselves, 
"How long?" 



28 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF III. 

OUR gentlemen had decided to go to Alaschier, the 
ancient Philadelphia, which is the furthest point 
at present reached by the Cassaba line. It was arranged 
that they should engage a carriage and cavass at Mag- 
nesia, to await the arrival of a pair of ladies, myself and 
my Smyrniot niece, at a less exacting hour of the day. 
Magnesia is forty-one miles from Smyrna, Alaschier 
seventy, and the early party would pass the former 
station on their way to the latter. 

The day was perfect, full of light and colour, every 
object having its own value, if no more, in the truthful 
winter sunshine that was so little wintry. A kind friend 
transferred us from train to train at Smyrna, and pro- 
visioned our carriage with potted chicken and ham, 
biscuits, cakes, and fruits. This jaunt on our own 
account had all the aspect of a " spree." 

The waters look their bluest as we coast the bay, 
the little crisp waves that fringe it, their whitest as they 
break upon the yellow sands. We pass the lovely village 
of Cordelia, said to have derived its name from Richard 
Coeur de Lion, and then turn inland, soon after to enter 
a mountain pass, which finally debouches upon the mag- 



FROM THE EAST. 29 

nificent plain of Magnesia. The mountains wore the 
clean blue of old china, Homer's river, winding between, 
dazzled the eyes with its glitter ; some last glowing leaves 
were still left on the plaintain trees ; the oaks from which 
the Valonia is gathered were solid masses of tawny red ; 
and the bare white skeletons of the leafless poplars told 
off the delicate distance, like the phantoms of cypresses 
which in other places were gathered darkly about the 
tombs. 

The situation of Magnesia, with its marble domes and 
minarets clean drawn upon the mountain background, is 
one of rare beauty, and it could hardly present itself to 
greater advantage than it did to us this day. A portion 
of the sky — white rolling clouds silvered by the sun — 
seemed to have fallen bodily into the valleys and clefts 
behind the mountains, throwing their more salient features 
into strong relief, simplifying the masses, and at the same 
time marking plane upon plane of distance which under 
ordinary effects might have failed to detach themselves. 
This fair city at the foot of the mountains commands the 
plain, and what a plain ! The great level tract between 
Magnesia and the sea strikes one as of almost unequalled 
richness. The fine-toned soil, which looks to be what 
the gardeners call a " silky " loam, seems to be capable 
of bearing any amount and variety of produce. It is 
a vast garden of fig trees, oranges, lemons, vines, and 
pomegranates. 

The carriage and attendant cavass were duly in wait- 
ing on our arrival, and we were well on our way to visit 
the rock statue of Niobe, some distance up one of the 



30 FLYING LEAVES. 

mountains of the Sypilus range, when, the road becoming 
wild and threatening altogether to cease, ray companion 
lost heart for the undertaking and called a halt. Reports 
of brigands haunting this neighbourhood had some time 
before been rife, and the young wife drew a moving 
picture of the anguish of our respective husbands in the 
case of ransom for our persons being enforced by the 
ingenious methods known to Greek or Turkish gentlemen 
of the road. I explained to my god-daughter that such 
draughts of sunshine as we were to-day being plied with, 
had a slightly intoxicating effect upon my spirits ; that I 
was harmless in my solar cups, only not to be relied upon 
as a guide for youth. She had better take the matter 
into her own hands, and do what she deemed best for us 
both. She did, and, making a little programme for ex- 
ploration of the ancient city, gave the order to the 
coachman to turn. In the end we fared well ; perhaps 
even better than we should have done in carrying out our 
original intention. We drove round and about Mag- 
nesia, probably the most truly Eastern-looking city to be 
seen in Asia Minor, and picturesque beyond our most 
hopeful dreams. It has a long history, having been 
founded by the Magnetes, an Hellenic tribe who came 
to the foot of Mount Sypylum, and there rested on their 
return from the Trojan war. I may here observe that a 
faculty of easy credence is added to the " Dutch courage " 
with which I feel myself endued when revelling, all 
unaccustomed as I am, in the light tipple of Oriental 
sunshine. In the thirteenth century the city became the 
capital of the Byzantine empire, and a century later fell 



FROM THE EAST. 3 1 

to the Turks. Many of the public buildings we saw- 
dated from this time. As we drove in and out of the 
narrow streets, past the cypress-shaded burying-grounds, 
and finally through the thronged bazaars, we perceived 
that something more than common had called the popula- 
tion from their homes. It was the arrival of a new 
governor that was expected, and, considering that a 
new governor means, anywhere under Turkish rule, a 
new tyrant, extortioner, and unjust judge, it was but fair 
to think that the sun had much the same effect upon the 
natives that it had on me. They certainly looked as if 
they hoped something might be got from the change. 
In the bazaars, of which fruit was the most tempting 
commodity, we found ourselves objects of rather more 
curiosity to the motley crowd than was quite pleasant ; 
and such is the influence of public opinion, we began to 
feel, mounted up in our high carriage in the blazing 
sunshine, as if a portion of our dress had been forgotten 
in the yashmak, which we alone of all the women present 
were without. In our desire to show that we were to be 
trusted in the absence of this screen, we hardly dared 
frankly to satisfy our own curiosity, but took in the 
strange scene without seeming to regard it, like a couple 
of Parisian jeunes personnes at their first ball. We were 
quit, however, for a little staring and a few remarks in a 
language we did not understand. The Turks are a well- 
mannered race, and conducted themselves better than 
our own people would have done under similar circum- 
stances. We were not sorry, in any case, to quit the 
bazaar, and to find ourselves halting before an ancient 




32 FLYING LEAVES. 

mosque, the mosque of the Sultan Mourad^ which, after 
some parley on the part of our cavass with the door- 
keeper, we were permitted to enter. We did not remain 
long. The interior was so redolent of the breath of the 
faithful that it took away our own, and we were glad to 
emerge into the air and light of day. We lingered a 
little in the courtyard, which was enclosed partly by a 
high wall through a door in which we had entered, partly 
by the fagade of the mosque, and partly by cloisters. In 
the centre was a pavilion covering a large circular basin, 
into which water was slowly dribbling. Above the 
cloisters rose the ever-present mountains, and through 
an ancient gateway by the side of the mosque appeared a 
marble dome and minaret and some tall cypresses. A 
flock of children of both sexes in gaily coloured garments, 
let out, as we supposed, from school, streamed through 
this gateway; and these, with the praying Mussulmans 
on their knees about the fountain, made up a picture 
which, had I been a free woman — still better, under the 
circumstances, a free man — I would have made shift 
to get upon canvas or paper, if I had had to starve 
for it at the dilapidated hotel round the corner of the 
street. But better than this was in store for us before 
we had done. 

We had given ourselves into the hands of our cavass, 
requiring of him that he should show us all that was most 
worthy to be seen, and shortly after we had left the 
mosque of Sultan Mourad our carriage drew up before 
another gateway. Having gained admittance into this 
second court, we felt ourselves suddenly plunged into 



FROM THE EAST. 33 

a scene of the ''Arabian Nights." A fantastic, Moorish- 
looking palace, ancient, but too beautiful surely in its 
gentle decay to be real, stood blinking at us with its 
latticed windows, half asleep in the sunshine. We could 
scarcely believe our eyes. The obliging cavass con- 
ducted us through the court to the door of the palace, 
which, strange to say, stood open. We wondered what 
we were then to do. Our guide informed us we might 
enter, and pay a visit to the ladies within. It seemed to 
us an unwarranted intrusion, but he assured us it would 
not be taken amiss. We screwed up our courage and 
advanced into the hall. No one was to be seen ; there 
was the same look of being fast asleep inside as out. 
Half doubtingly we took his advice, and mounted a 
broad flight of stairs, at the first turning of which we 
perceived two slave women, one quite fair, the other 
a mulatto, standing beckoning us from the landing-place, 
a long gallery which stretched right and left throughout 
the whole range of the building. They addressed us 
courteously in an unknown tongue, which we of course 
understood to be Turkish, and led the way as if we had 
been expected to a door masked by a hts^yy portiere. As 
soon as they had us within, they dropped the curtain and 
left us to ourselves. At this stage of the proceedings 
some weird stories of Oriental mystery and crime with 
which we had been beguiling the railway journey came 
back to us, and we looked from the latticed windows 
to the bare walls, at the brazen chaudiere with the 
smouldering charcoal in the centre of the chamber, and 
at the divans of different heights — features of what was 

D 



34 FLYING LEAVES. 

evidently the haremlik, or women's reception-room — with 
a half-amused distrust 

"They are not likely to make away with wx," said my 
namesake comfortingly. 

*'No, I should think not. We have done nothing 
they could desire to avenge ; we know of nothing they 
could wish to conceal." With which reassuring thoughts 
we waited in curious expectation. 

Presently steps were heard without, the curtain became 
agitated, and the same two slaves, drawing it aside, gave 
entrance to an old lady in a flowing garment lined and 
bordered with yellow fur, who came forward with a 
grand, air, and, saluting us in Turkish fashion, which we 
imitated as well as we were able, seated herself on her 
own low divan, and motioned us to places one on either 
side of her. The old lady seemed very glad to see us, 
and tried us with what appeared to be a welcoming 
speech in Turkish. It would not do. My niece essayed 
her with Greek. Equal unsuccess. A rather pretty young 
lady, who we concluded to be a daughter of the house, 
came in at this moment, and being, as we judged from 
her rapid movements, very lively, and clearly of a loqua- 
cious turn, did the impossible to establish conversational 
relations with us; but to no effect. Orders were now 
given by the old lady in the corner to serve us with ciga- 
rettes, which the young lady and her attendants twisted 
up gracefully and skilfully, and lighted at the brazier. 

A low voice from the other side of our hostess: "Aunt 
Emmy, they are going to make us smoke." 

*'Then smoke we must; it is all we can do to make 



FROM THE EAST. 35 

things pleasant." And smoke we did, and felt ourselves 
growing paler with every whiff. Perhaps the Turkish 
tobacco was really strong, possibly it was dashed with 
opium, perhaps it was only that we were unaccustomed 
to the process of inhaling it. At length, withdrawing 
the poisoned papers from our lips, we found out, and 
communicated to each other, that our cigarettes when 
left alone smoked themselves, and we thankfully left 
them to do it. I believe we should else have fainted. 

Small cups of black coffee were now offered, and 
accepted with a glance which showed that we each 
remembered how this beverage was always employed as 
the favourite vehicle for poison. The scene and the cir- 
cumstances being unusual, we delighted to make the most 
of them. However, the elder lady was friendly if the 
younger failed to conceal her impatience at our mutism ; 
and reassured by discovering no after- taste in the coffee, 
and hoping that no further entertainment was in store 
for us, my companion brought out a few words common 
to Greek and Turkish, and we all took to pointing and 
nodding and grimacing at each other to such effect, that 
when we rose to relieve them of our presence, the poor 
ladies, in whose way so little amusement ever came, got 
up and violently opposed our departure, stood upon a 
divan and made signals over the lattice to the coachman 
and cavass to withdraw, and altogether took such deter- 
mined possession of us, that we began to see ourselves 
with some alarm sitting crossed-legged, and nodding like 
a couple of Chinese images, rooted to the spot for the 
rest of the day. 



36 FLYING LEAVES. 

Here, then, was a new source of disturbance ; we had 
evidently been making ourselves too agreeable, and we 
began to moderate our pantomime with a view to getting 
away. Happily a diversion occurred : they bethought 
themselves of showing us over the ancient house, its 
galleries within and without, and the numerous rooms 
that opened upon them ; its terraces abutting upon 
quaint, enclosed, and sometimes hanging gardens, its 
fountains and shady alcoves. These orange, citron, and 
rose gardens, fountains and piazzas were all at the rear 
of the palace, in view of the sofdy tinted mountains, and 
overlooked by minarets; but all the good art, and the 
palace itself was a dream of beauty, dated from a remote 
past. Throughout the rooms there was scarcely a bit of 
furniture or decoration that was not odious and that did 
not derive its peculiar stamp from Birmingham or Kidder- 
minster. Only in one saloon, in the men's quarter, was 
there any fine embroidery, gold embossed upon pale 
mauve satin, and that, I think, was worked upon a 
Parisian pattern. The respect for their own pure art of 
decoration would seem to have died from among this 
people. Great endeavours were made to open a door 
leading to the suite of rooms belonging to the chief wife 
who was absent with her husband ; but though various 
keys were tried, none fitted ; the door remained fast in 
the face of curiosity, as if it had shut in the secrets of a 
Blue Beard's chamber. 

Having accomplished the round of the palace and 
returned to the head of the stairs by which we had 
ascended, we made our adieux, expressing our thanks as 



FROM THE EAST. 37 

well as we were able to our entertainers, and drove 
direct to the station. Here we partook with appetite of 
a simple repast, "bedewed," as the French so prettily 
say, with wine of Samos, and were glad to rest for awhile 
as we talked over our adventures. 

We subsequently learnt that the elder of the ladies 
we had seen was the representative of the very ancient 
and distinguished historical family of Karasman Oglun 
Sadie, formerly for many generations Beys of Magnesia, 
and that the palace, and what was left of the property, 
had passed through her to the present proprietor on his 
marriage with her daughter. This last was the absent 
wife into whose apartments we had failed to penetrate. 
She had gone with her lord and personal attendants to 
pass a sort of picnic day in a little house overlooking a 
new garden in the outskirts of the town, to which, later 
on, we were conducted by the station-master. 

Nothing laying claim to the name could be more 
uninviting than the aspect of this "pleasance." There 
was not a tree, not a shrub or growing stick in the place 
that might not have served the Turk, had he been under 
favour of the old English law, for the beating of his wife, 
since none assuredly were thicker than his thumb. The 
walks and beds were laid out with much of the caprice, 
uncertainty, and ineptitude which characterize the garden 
of a child ; and at this time of the year, delicious as 
was the temperature, there was scarcely a flower to be 
seen. The central feature of this system was a wretched 
composite of fountain and rockery, with effigies of clay 
interspersed among the growing things, clumsy sem- 



38 FLYING LEAVES. 

blances of plants of which prickly pear was the type, 
and of birds, all in that stage of art which belongs not to 
infancy, but to decrepitude, and is far on its way to 
imbecility. All around this senile plaything of a garden 
there spread the mighty hills, nearer at hand the archi- 
tectural work of a race of magicians in stone, and before 
it a plain which is in itself an El Dorado. Such as his 
garden was, the Turkish gentleman seemed to find 
amusement in it. We lighted upon him on his knees, 
with his head bent nearly to the ground, gazing through 
the small dim panes into a little glass-house, which 
protected a few shabby geraniums and heliotropes. He 
had grown very fat in such harmless pursuits, which he 
carried on with portentous gravity. The lady stood at 
the window of the narrow, flat-roofed, unadorned garden- 
house, contemplating the more active employment of her 
lord. It was a favourable picture of Turkish delight, 
not viscious, but only inane. 

Our gentlemen picked us up on their return from 
Alaschier, and under their protection we were further 
gratified by the sight of the reception, by the crowd at 
the railway station, of the new Bey. 



( 39 ) 



LEAF IV. 

Athens, January, 1883. 

NONE of those in whose lives Greek "music" has 
already been an influence are likely to forget 
their first landing upon Grecian shores, the first deep 
inspiration of the bright air of Attica, or, above all, the 
first vision of the Acropolis as it swims into sight above 
the olive groves which bound the carriage road from the 
port of Perseus. 

To the wanderer by sea and land -there seems some- 
thing of welcome in this early greeting ; and so long as 
he abides in Athens his acquaintance has daily opportunity 
of becoming closer j there is no denial of this first kindly 
advance. The Acropolis on its hill is everywhere a 
visible presence ; it haunts the city and the region round 
about, as the Jungfrau haunts the Bernese Oberland, 
and attracts the eye in whatever position, with a spell 
like the compelling impulse which forces us to gaze upon 
the setting sun. 

What a bath of sunshine, of living light — not very- 
warm or penetrating at this season, for the fluent air 
is sharpened by the snows on the surrounding moun- 
tains — surprises and dazzles the pilgrim whose home 



40 FLYING LEAVES. 

is beneath more clouded skies. You suddenly feel as 
if there had been granted to you a keener sight ; I think 
even your very thoughts grow clearer. A feeling comes 
over you that life, like a " gift-horse," is not to be sub- 
jected to too severe a scrutiny, but taken for what it is, 
and taken with thankfulness. Something of this un- 
conscious health of the mind one observes written on 
the features of the people one meets, more especially 
on those of the lower orders. I have never elsewhere 
seen middle-aged faces so little marked with care. In 
Italy the smiles are brighter ; but there are tragic possi- 
bilities lurking behind them seemingly unknown to the 
lighter temperament of the Greek. 

We feel as if we also could grow Greek in time. We 
are happy in the sunshine and sweet air, happy to have 
escaped the wintry sea with its threats unfulfilled, and 
thrice happy to be drawing in at every pore, every 
avenue of spirit and sense, the impressions inalienable 
from the spot. 

Perhaps the first delightful experience on seizing the 
natural and acquired features of the scene, is that of 
finding yourself so much at home in them. Pictures, 
painted and verbal, have for once done their work with 
due effect, since nothing seems strange or wholly unex- 
pected. Your coming seems rather a return ; in any case, 
you have arrived, you are not parvenu. The gracious 
outlines of the mountain ranges, cut with ineffable soft-- 
ness, albeit with a cameo-like decision of finish, upon 
the thin air, seem to let in a crowd of pleasurable recol- 
lections, opening the doors of the mind to long proces- 



FROM THE EAST. 4 1 

sions of gods and heroes, as also to the heads of a 
population in marble and bronze that has come down to 
us from the architectm-al time when the idea of the 
temple of man's body was once and for ever perfected. 
That there is a close relation between this statuesque 
landscape, these naked hills with their delicate cleavage, 
and the development of the Attic genius, is felt to be 
something more than a fanciful idea when you come to 
be brought face to face with it. If the modern Greek 
fails to be responsive to such influence, that fact may 
be accounted for in ways too obvious and sufficient to 
take anything from the force of the suggestion. In the 
first place we moderns, " heirs of all the ages," are not 
dependent on, or plastic to, local circumstances as were 
these children of a younger world ; in the second, the 
Greek, long enslaved, is now poor in means and power, 
and in the hurry and keen competition of modern life, 
is forced to turn his sharp wits towards commerce as 
a means to material progress. He is something in the 
position of the Jew, with probably less of his national 
feeling and ennobling hope. 

Certainly anything more hideous than the barrack, 
the dwelUng of the king and queen, looked down upon 
by the Parthenon, it would be difficult to imagine. A 
fairly good band in the square before it was playing airs 
from " La Gazza Ladra," which did not detain us long. 
We were in haste to lay our homage at the feet of that 
divine Reason whose fairest if somewhat defaced shrine 
is still upon this spot. The light music of Rossini 
floated after us as we drove through the dainty, rather 



42 FLYING LEAVES. 

common-place, little modern city ; the object of all wor- 
ship continually breaking upon our view as it appeared 
through the vistas of the streets. Then we came upon 
the arch of Hadrian, and then on the magnificent 
Corinthian columns of the Temple of Jupiter. We did 
not descend, we were determined to keep our minds 
virgin of all thoughtful impression until we stood before 
the Parthenon itself. So we wind up the side of the 
Acropolis, past the theatre of Dionysus, beside hedges 
of aloe and cacti, until the sea, flashing and sparkling, 
a sheet of molten diamonds, comes to take its place 
in the scene. We are at the foot of the Propylean ; we 
dismount, and, climbing a path a little to the right, enter 
a door through a wall which encases the rock on this 
side, and are soon ascending the steps on our way to 
the sacred precincts. 

It has so often been urged of late that no building 
could possibly bear the strain of so much greatness, the 
weight of such immortal memories, such immoderate 
expectation, as hangs about the Parthenon, that the 
traveller of to-day is perhaps liable to approach it with 
hopes unnaturally subdued. Still more, if he come fresh 
from the Brobdingnagian mosques of Constantinople, will 
he have chastened himself to look for none of that awe 
which is dependent on grandeur of scale. I was pre- 
pared to find the Parthenon of small proportions. It was 
probably this guarded attitude of mind which made me 
sensible at the first moment of what I felt to be its 
magnificent mass ; otherwise, when I had settled down 
to its contemplation, silent and passive to its gradually 



FROM THE EAST. 43 

penetrating influence, it ceased for me to be great or 
small, high or low, but stood there in pathetic ruin, 
glowing upon the azure sky, a golden temple, model and 
architype in the severity of its perfect idea, of all the 
temples that ever were or shall be. Then for a moment 
the scorns of time and the crueller wrong of the spoiler 
were repaired : it had become a temple of the mind, as 
the spirit seemed to rise above the object of sense, and 
to follow the fluted columns to that point in the depths 
of space to which their lines are said to converge. The 
statue of the great goddess was no longer in its place ; 
its ivory had become dust, its gold had probably been 
coined, and, stamped with some baser earthly image, 
had been passed from hand to hand ; but the Reason 
which had here found so visible a throne still cried 
aloud from the stones, and it was a deep joy to feel 
that you were of those who, however imperfectly, could 
hear its voice. 

If Time has its revenges. History has its bitter irony. 
The reason which thought scorn of the human afl*ections, 
imagining to build itself a ladder by which, unaided by 
subtler emotion, it could reach to heaven, after having 
left this chiefest of its seats to the Greek confession, 
probably the least reasonable cultus of Christendom, 
was succeeded in due course by the followers of 
Mahomet, who, not content with making a powder 
magazine of the Parthenon, cast the mire of deadliest 
insult upon the Erectheum, the holy of holies of their 
pagan predecessors, wherein dwelt the most venerated of 
the statues of Athene and flourished the sacred olive. 



44 FLYING LEAVES. 

In these precincts, consecrated to the purest worship 
known to the Athenian world, the Turk installed his 
harem, and fouled the wholesome spring enshrined 
within it by foeted droppings from the sullen pool which 
gathers about the stagnant life of slaves. It might seem 
that the womanhood which, in its free strength and 
affectional impulse, had no accredited place in the 
Athenian polity, had avenged itself by coming to life 
among these ruins in some lower serpent form. 

Returning to our hotel, we took a stroll on foot, 
hoping to find our way to a view of the setting sun. 
We past the Temple of the Four Winds, and, mounting 
by the north-west side of the Acropolis through un- 
savoury streets, a beautiful view of the Pentelicus and 
part of the Parnes ranges opened upon our left. As we 
watched them growing purple upon the rose-flushed 
evening sky, and knew that from another point the 
Acropolis itself would be seen to partake of the effect, 
we well understood how the city of Athene might have 
merited her title of the " violet crowned." 

February. — We have now spent a month in Athens, 
but it has been a month of human experience, not 
peculiar to any portion of the globe, the most serious 
part of it relating to sickness. A cold caught in Asia 
Minor, and increased on the voyage to Constantinople, 
when the Sea of Marmora, enclosed by mountains 
covered with snow, felt like a refrigerator, still further 
developed on the wintry Bosphorus, and confirmed by 
the icy winds. on our way to Athens, became in the 
latter place a fever which has prostrated E. during 



FROM THE EAST. 45 

the greater part of our stay. It has now left him, but it 
will be some time before he recovers his strength. A 
doctor speaking a foreign language, unacquainted with 
the constitution of the invalid who could give no 
coherent account of himself, being generally delirious ; 
no nurse in the place who can understand a word of 
French or English ; no chambermaid either who knows 
anything but modern Greek, and only one of the two 
waiters who attend us possessed of a slight knowledge of 
French, — the circumstances were such as to search out 
the strength and the weakness of the companion on 
whom so grave a charge was made to rest. There were 
acquaintances in plenty, and kind new friends ; but I 
felt so great a need for the concentration of my thoughts, 
and powers such as they were, that I sought little help of 
them. The doubts in following out a treatment contrary 
to experience are the worst; but all is now happily 
over, and convalescence is being enjoyed among 
pleasant scenes and circumstances. 

Daily, at the arbitrary instance of the invalid, I had to 
take the air, when I left him for a time in the care of 
our Dragoman, and drove almost invariably to the same 
spot. Sitting in front of the Parthenon, I tried to teach 
myself, or suffer myself to be taught, some of that wise 
measure of which it stands in its place, the monument. 
Often I succeeded in gathering calm from the contem- 
plation, and returned to my work with renewed strength. 
Sometimes I failed, and felt as I descended the Pro- 
pylean that a word from that fiery and faithful spirit 
that had made itself heard from the opposite hill would 



46 FLYING LEAVES. 

have been more to me than all the suggestions of Reason. 
But however that may be, the Parthenon and its sur- 
roundings, its environment of hills and matchless coast- 
line and sea, have entered into my life at a critical 
moment, and entered it deeper than the eyes. 



( 47 ) 



LEAF V. 

THINKING over the sum of the impressions 
received from this first introduction to Greek 
art in the place of its birth, I am conscious of nothing 
so much as of a deepened sense of the severe restraint, 
the absence of all exaggeration, even of emphasis which 
characterizes the work of the great time. No insistence 
upon a particular or personal view of the matters dealt 
with, and in this sense, no egotism ; no strain laid upon 
the sympathy of the beholder. Whence, I ask myself, 
came this perfection of " tact " to a young people in an 
age which might be supposed too full of creative impulse 
to be critical or self-restrained ? In these works the 
least tutored beholder must learn to recognize the great 
style. You feel that a great personality was behind them. 
These mighty artists seem to have held themselves above 
their creations, looking down upon them from some high 
vantage ground, and discarding from use all but what was 
quintessential to their nature, eliminating from them all 
elements of merely passing interest, and all of personal 
and individual which could not readily be made universal 
in its appeal. None of the passionate outpouring of the 
individual soul in its struggles with the finite and the 



48 FLYING LEAVES. 

infinite such as we have in Dante, such as utters itself in 
our Gothic cathedrals, in the sublime complaint of 
Beethoven, or the undisciplined sorrow or wild joy of 
Weber and a host of moderns. These, too, are or can 
be made universal, but they have attained their position 
not through artistic self-renouncement but through the 
truth and depth of their personal passion. The one art 
is the outcome of a joy in creation, calm as that of the 
Olympian gods ; the other, the result of the travail of the 
human soul with apprehended truth, as yet unrealized, 
perhaps for ever unrealizable. 

Arriving thus far in my retrospect, it struck me that I 
had touched only the negative side of Greek achieve- 
ment, and that no art or manner of thing whatsoever 
could attain to immortality through negatives alone. 
I then seemed to see that this Olympian repose made as 
it were the quiet field on which were revealed to the 
finely trained Greek sense, beauties of a nature and quality 
so subtle that they must have been lost in a disturbing 
medium. The government kept by these Titans of old 
upon the impulse of their genius may be compared to 
that with which a skilful rider regulates the 'motion of 
his hand, tranquilizing and restraining in order that 
the lightest imparted movement may tell with unerring 
effect. 

After those antiquities, which have long borne their 
part in shaping the artistic conceptions of educated 
people, the chief subject of conversational interest to 
the stranger at Athens is the discoveries by the Ger- 
mans in Olympia. The curiosity — the Wisbegierde — to 



FROM THE EAST. 49 

see, and, so far as we might be able, to estimate for our- 
selves, the value of this recovered treasure, was felt as a 
perpetual sting, only aggravated by the thought of the 
difficulties in the way. I am bound to say that the 
result of such inadequate study as we were subsequently 
able to compass was, with one single but supreme ex- 
ception, disappointing — my remarks being limited to the 
sculptures, and having no reference to the architectural 
remains. 

As is now known, all, or nearly all, of the chief figures 
which adorned the eastern and western pediments of the 
great Temple of Zeus have, in a state more or less frag- 
mentary, been unearthed; and the sculptor Alkamenes — 
who, we learn on the authority of Pausanias, was ranked 
by his contemporaries as second only to Phidias — has 
become at last to the modern world something more 
than a name. Thus announced, and with the echo of 
ancient fame set leaping anew by those who have 
restored his work to the light, expectation was naturally 
high when, with eyes still filled with the calm splendour 
of the Parthenon and its friezes — the friezes wherein 
every lightest touch is a revelation of the fullness of 
latent knowledge — we addressed ourselves to the study 
of what are spoken of as rival achievements. 

It is the western pediment which is that of Alkamenes, 
the subject being the carrying off of the wife of Pirithous 
by the Centaurs. Of the grouping of the figures as they 
have been conjecturally restored by Professor Curtius 
I will say nothing. Granting that the Professor has 
assigned to each its true place in the composition, it is 

E 



50 FLYING LEAVES. 

easy to see that too many of the connecting links are 
wanting to allow of the general effect being anything but 
disjointed and unpleasing ; and this to a degree which 
forbids the supposition that the restoration, however 
accurate, as far as it goes, can convey any idea of the 
artistic intention of the master. It is the more to be 
regretted that this work cannot now be judged in its 
entirety as there seems reason to think that, if indeed 
Alkamenes occupied so high a place in the esteem of his 
age, it must have been in composition and dramatic 
appeal that his great force consisted. That the pas- 
sionate seeker for hidden treasure should, in the first 
rapture of possession, be fain to over-estimate the beauty 
of his discovery is no more than might safely be pre- 
dicted of him ; and that his enthusiasm should draw 
many in his wake is also no new thing. If a more sober 
judgment is early to be arrived at, the impulse thereto 
can only come through those whose opinion, if carrying 
with it no special authority, is independent of this per- 
sonal influence. Claiming, therefore, for my own part, 
no enlightenment but such as has been the gradual 
growth of the reverent contemplation of great work 
whenever it comes within my reach, I venture to give 
my impressions of these remains for what they are worth. 
It was with no small measure of disappointment, as I 
have said, that I found myself unable to feel, either in 
the Apollo — the colossal figure now known to have 
occupied the centre of the pediment— in the maiden 
struggling with the centaur, in the dismembered trunk 
of the centaur, whose arm, it is seen, has grasped her, or 



FROM THE EAST. $1 

the recumbent mountain or river nymphs at the ex- 
tremities, the presence of such creative fire as should 
entitle these works, as they can now be estimated, to 
the sovereign place which is claimed for them. There is 
a feeling that must be common to most observers in the 
presence of great works of sculpture — that the thought 
of the artist has not stopped short at the surface, but has 
penetrated the whole mass. The solid material has 
become plastic to his perception, and the seen is the 
result of the unseen. So vital is this effect, so commu- 
nicative the impression in some of the masterworks it 
would be easy to name, that the beholder hardly frees, 
as he does not desire to free, his mind from the idea 
that the surface ripple of muscle and flesh is the expres- 
sion of inward forces. Now, of this superlative power, 
little, I think, if anything, is experienced in the contem- 
plation of these remains of Alkamenes — remains which 
there is no reason to doubt come as direct from his hand 
as marbles in general from those of the artist ; that is to 
say, that they have received from him, over and above 
the original conception, those seemingly trifling touches 
which in this art go to make perfection. I venture to 
doubt, then, if the verdict of our own time will finally 
ratify that of which Pausanias is the mouthpiece, unless 
many a missing portion of this great pediment shall still 
be recovered, and, by restitution to its place, justify his 
title, in default of masterly execution, to a great initial 
conception. Large in feeling, monumental as is the 
Apollo of Alkamenes, it seems to me of a type less 
nobly ideal, partaking more of common nature and yet 



52 FLYING LEAVES. 

less true to the very life, than that shown by the greatest 
of his rivals, more especially when dealing with the gods. 
Indeed, one is struck, in the figures from both the pedi- 
ments, with the absence of high condition ; the folds of 
the flesh are too flaccid for immortals or the children of 
immortals ; they are touched by accident, by sickness, or 
time ; one could even fancy some of the young faces to 
be fever-smitten. Added to this, I believe there will be 
found in the work of Alkamenes a species of afl'ectation 
akin to that which has had many outbreaks in the history 
of art; a self-conscious return to archaic stiffness and 
conventionality which, felt perhaps as a charm by the 
dilettante of his own time, is likely, with succeeding ages, 
to lessen the value of his performance in the degree of 
its sincerity. 

I forbear to enter into particulars with regard to the 
works of Paeoneus on the eastern pediment, since the 
claim on our admiration made for them by their dis- 
coverers is greatly less, the fine torso of Zeus, and the 
Victory (Nike), being the only two of them it is sought 
to elevate to the highest rank. With this last, preceded 
as it was by a flourish of trumpets, I hear that the cogno- 
scenti of Berlin, when they came to study it for them- 
selves, were seriously disappointed. It is, perhaps, more 
difficult to form a just estimate of the Nike in its present 
condition than is the case with the sculptures of the 
pediments. In spite of the unquestionable grace and 
charm of this figure, there is some difficulty in accounting 
for the action of the left leg, broken off" at the knee, and 
subsiding suddenly into the drapery which is seen to be 



FROM THE EAST. 53 

flowing over it. What may, however, be certified is, that 
the diaphanous-looking folds are deficient in that deci- 
sion, as well as that expressiveness, which in the best 
work causes drapery to appear as an aura^ accentuating 
the movement and enlarging the sphere, so to say, of the 
figure which it veils. Whatever may be the ultimate 
verdict in relation to these several works — wherever, in 
comparison with the highest we possess, they may find 
their place — there can of course be no question as to the 
value of this newly trove treasure in connection with the 
history of art Reluctantly as any of us might be forced 
to admit that new gifts coming to us from the great time 
are inferior in merit to examples of Phidias, of Miron, of 
Praxiteles, and others long known to us, there should, 
I think, be found something of encouragement for a 
twilight-hour in the reflection which such inequality of 
excellence would appear to enforce — namely, that the 
man, the individual creative genius, is not, in the degree 
it has been the mode to believe, a creature of his age 
and environment, but a controlling spirit which in one 
form or another may still steal upon the unexpectant 
world as a thief in the night. 

I have said that there was one supreme exception to 
the prevailing feeling of disappointment with which the 
study of these works had left me. No praise, as it seems 
to me — no claim, however lofty — could do more than 
anticipate by a little the pleasure with which the Hermes 
and infant Dionysus of Praxiteles must be regarded. 
This image of early manhood, in its god-like proportions 
and symmetry, its lightness, suppleness, grace, and the 



54 FLYING LEAVES. 

Strength which seems to come from the fine tenuity of 
its substance, has in it a charm of tenderness foreign to 
the great art of Phidias, and which in itself suffices to 
proclaim its author the Euripides of sculpture. I can 
call to mind no single statue ever beheld which is so 
satisfyingly delightful. The left arm of the youth bears 
the child, whose little hand is seen upon his shoulder ; 
the right fore-arm — unhappily broken off above the 
elbow — is raised; and from the missing hand we are 
told depended a bunch of grapes, held beyond the reach 
of the infant god. Both legs are wanting below the 
knee, but the figure, admirable in the elastic grace of its 
poise, is seen to rest upon the right. The face bends 
forward a little from the up-reared throat ; the eyes are 
smiling and intent; a smile is hovering also upon the 
lips, which are full and sensitive rather than sensuous ; 
and a dimple gives a touch of softness to the strong, firm 
contour of the chin. The crisp curls of the hair are 
firmly massed, broad, and a little " sketchy," as beseems 
matters of secondary interest. Of the young Dionysus 
it is less easy to form an opinion, the state in which it 
exists being so very imperfect. In scale it is relatively 
small even for a young child, but the abundance of the 
hair forbids the idea that its age, as represented, is under 
two years. A mantle flows in voluminous silky folds 
from under it. The body, now loosely set on, has been 
broken in two at the waist ; both arms are lost, together 
with the left shoulder and breast ; the point of the nose 
and something of the under lip and chin are also missing, 
so that it is now hard to see if this figure possessed in 



FROM THE EAST. 55 

itself much of the touching charm of childhood which 
is seemingly mirrored in the face that is bent towards it. 
It is upon the Hermes that all the interest is concentrated; 
and surely genius has never bequeathed, the fostering 
earth has never protected, and in due time yielded up, 
a treasure more fitly formed for the wonder and delight 
of the ages. It seems more than any other to bind the 
ancient and modern worlds in one, appealing, as it does, 
to the same heart in each. All that we have hitherto 
known of Praxiteles is nowhere in comparision ; the 
Faun of the Vatican, with its somewhat snake-like 
smoothness of surface, shows beside it as a copy of 
copies. I heard a doubt expressed by a gentleman who 
is well known as the head of the Archaeological Society 
at Athens, whether even this group of the Hermes and 
Dionysus comes to us direct from the hand of the master. 
It would be presumptuous to question so paramount an 
authority ; but the feeling on looking at this statue, that 
you are very near, to say the least, to the source of its 
inspiration, is irresistible, and the more you gaze upon 
it the more it grows. 

The common people of Athens, the guides and the 
sellers of photographs, would appear to make of the 
fame of Phidias a sort of Kronos devouring that of his 
children. Everything that they deem finest in any style 
they assign without further question to his mighty hand. 
I do not know whether it is ascertained — I have not 
myself been able to learn for sure — to whom the reliefs 
taken from the little Temple of Victory are to be attributed. 
That one of them known as " Wingless," at least, appears 



56 FLYING LEAVES. 

to me unique. Over and above the lovely motive — 
which shows the imperial figure bending forward, divesting 
herself of her sandal in token that in Athens she is 
henceforth to abide — there is a sympathy with woman- 
hood as the modern world is recognizing it which is 
commonly conspicuous by its absence from ancient art. 
Passion in divorce as it existed from tenderness was 
rightly seen to be a subject unmeet for ideal treatment ; 
and the stalwart maids and matrons, born to yield 
warriors to the State, were rather awe-inspiring than 
pleasing. But into this little Nike (little by reason, not 
of its manner, but its scale) there has stolen a softness, a 
truly feminine element, suggestive of a new power ; and, 
seen in contrast with all around, one cannot but wonder 
how it came there. 



( 57 ) 



LEAF VI. 

LAST night, at a concert at the palace, the strings 
of the violoncello, touched by a skilful hand, 
wailed with unutterable longing, as if bent on stirring 
the unsoundable depths of the soul to new desires, 
effort, and aspiration. 

While under the influence of this spell I could not 
but wonder, seeing how near we were to the spot where 
Plato wrote, what would have been the dictum of that 
mighty ancient on the state of sweet trouble into which 
the sounds had clearly thrown the large and attentive 
audience there assembled. Would these to him have 
been " Lydian airs," and as such condemned as ener- 
vating and subversive of virtue ? I could not tell, but 
the doubt seemed at once to have opened to my per- 
ception the path along which the soul had been journey- 
ing since Plato's time, with something of the loss, and 
much of the gain, that had been found on the perilous 
trail. What I saw chiefly was the greater extension, 
fruitfulness, and dignity which had been allowed to the 
human afl'ections ; how love, instead of being " in 
narrowest working shut," a mere stirring of the blood, 
rarely recognized in any other connection, had been 



58 FLYING LEAVES. 

gathered out of the dust, set upon a throne, known for 
divine even when combined with more earthly elements, 
and worshipped at its purest as one with the creative life. 
Seeing the new depths of sorrow, the new tragic pos- 
sibilities thus opened to humanity, one is tempted to 
ask of the spirit of Progress, "What will you finally 
make of the hapless soul of man ? " But the question 
receives no answer; only the path lies before us, and 
we cannot choose but follow its unknown mazes. Mean- 
time we may hope that the travail of the hum.an spirit 
has not been for nought. With the exception of a few 
penetrating souls of poets, there are doubtless reaches 
in it never explored by the ancients, if for the majority 
of them they had any existence. We have lost much — 
lost an art perfect within its own limits ; and this, as it 
was then possessed, we can hardly hope to regain. But 
a new horizon — no, not an horizon, for horizon there is 
none — but a new vision has opened for us : a vaster 
vision of the Infinite; and all our art, if it be worth 
our endeavour, must be the expression of the manifold 
experience of the soul in its enlarged conditions. For 
a mind coming into contact first with the remains of this 
marvellous Athenian world — this concrete reason, this 
freshly blown flower of beauty — there seems a likelihood 
of too great an absorption in the irretrievable past ; of 
a difficulty felt in holding its own in fruition and in 
hope, in the present and future. I own to something 
of surprise in not having found it thus. Never more 
than in the midst of the wonders of ancient Athens 
have I felt the value and significance of what the 



FROM THE EAST. 59 

human heart and brain have since striven to utter, and, 
in uttering, to make clear to themselves; and never 
have I been more fully convinced of the fact that even 
in art they have not yet spoken their last or most 
pregnant word. If here we first learn — learn in un- 
speakable joy of the free spirit, learn so as never to 
forget — what the Greeks have done, we are kindled by 
something of communicated impulse to feel what they 
have left undone. 

This Reason, which broke into such matchless 
blossom of beauty, was at its highest and most typical 
moment of development, somewhat cold as well as clear. 
As in the breath of Athena, the lofty Queen of the Air, 
the sweetness and light that was in it was something in 
excess of the warmth. It was not unfitly typified by 
the goddess who was the genius of its birthplace, that 
austere maiden sprung from the brain of Zeus, in whose 
honour all the worthiest of what is here to see, has 
been set up. Reading on the spot in Plato's "Re- 
public," what has been said in relation to woman by one 
who was of the noblest of Athenian citizens, one is led 
to confess to the severe logic which has directed his 
conclusions from the premiss of such an initial concep- 
tion. The Athenian world, more than that of its neigh- 
bour States, still more than that of some other ancient 
peoples, was a world without woman in any true sense. 
It is little likely that the position assigned to the sex 
by Plato, would be lower than that which accorded with 
the views of the generality of his countrymen, and with 
him, woman was the lesser man ; no more, no other, the 



6o > FLYING LEAVES. 

only distinction which he recognizes as pertaining to 
sex, being the one physical fact of separate functions 
in generating and bringing to the birth. I am not sure 
that a contemplation of the treatment of the female form 
in the marbles of Pheidias would not go some way to 
suggest that the great master shared his view. Whatever 
there is of tenderness or sympathy in his art, mighty 
and severe, is lavished, not upon the womankind, but 
upon the youth of the other sex. Something of this 
may be accredited to the circumstance that the im- 
pression made by the latter, constantly beheld un- 
clothed in the gymnasium, was more direct; but still 
more was due to the subordinate, the even contemned 
position, in which all the qualities, mental and moral, 
of which woman is the typical exponent, were held. To 
the absence of this blended life may be attributed that 
limit to fecundity too early reached by Grecian thought. 

It was reserved for another people, a people of deeper 
affections, and more abiding sense of the power of the 
unseen-spiritual, to put first into the hand of the woman, 
and make her share with her mate, the freedom typified 
in the fruit of the Tree of Life. The Greek desired it 
for himself; found it ''pleasant to the taste, and good 
for food," but never conceived of it as a universal 
heritage and essential condition of human development. 
The Attic love of liberty accommodated itself perfectly 
with the institution of slavery for a moiety of mankind, 
and the permanent subjection of its less militant half. 

But if no generous dream of equal justice so much as 
visited even the finer of the spirits among this great 



FROM THE EAST. 6 1 

people, with the fetters that it was agreed to fix for ever 
upon slaves, captives of war, and women, it was also 
thought desirable to bind the highest flights of human 
thought. We have seen the scant honour and place 
accorded in the " Republic " to the affections. If women 
were only to form part of it on the condition of becoming 
unsexed, so also was Poetry, with the revered name of 
Homer as its representative, driven from the scene, only 
to be re-admitted when deprived of the means of rising 
into the empyrean, bitted, harnessed, and broken to the 
yoke of the State. It will be averred that the feminine 
principle was persecuted in good company. Much is 
asked by the philosopher of the poet; but contemptuously 
little is expected of him. To make good his place in the 
ordered scheme of things, he must be a legislator, a 
physician, and a priest of the cultus of the hour. He is 
none of these things ; not even a healer, though a soother, 
through his music, of the woes of life. What he is, is a 
living instrument, at once so finely attuned and so dis- 
criminating, that it resumes and gives back in rhythmic 
cadence the most essential of the leading tones arising 
from the heart of humanity in any given time and place. 
The winged soul of the great poet is the freest thing 
known to man. Although law is of its very life, it is a 
higher law, and therefore a more universal, than that con- 
templated in any, the wildest, Utopia. The leaders of 
men cannot put it in harness, and drive it along the high 
roads of civilization, over their mountain passes, and 
through their fever swamps, in the van of their great 
guns. It knows nothing of expediency ; and as, at its 



62 FLYING LEAVES. 

best and most universal, it comprehends and sympathizes 
with all humanity, it is with difficulty prevailed upon to 
take sides in any strife. It is a witness to the struggle 
with antagonistic forces in which the life of man consists. 
Of all the testimony bequeathed us by the ages, none is 
so intimate, or so sincere. Poetry is not history, but it 
is more ; it is the informing spirit, which guides us through 
the shapeless detritus out of which history is constructed. 
Like that which brooded upon the face of the waters, it 
brings order out of chaos ; like the breath which passed 
upon the dry bones, it causes the dead to live. Without it 
the percipient soul, the soul that has a wide out-look upon 
the universe, sees its facts so disjointed and misplaced that 
it falls into perplexity and despair. Poetry is, in sooth, the 
most essential form of truth, a faint adumbration of the 
mind of the Highest. But in poetry, as in all things 
else, we have our treasure in earthen vessels ; the delicately 
attuned instrument is easily at fault, its many subtle 
elements are difficult to hold in balance. Yet, looking 
at its " vates," one thing will be seen to be common to 
every soul of them. However wild and lawless in their 
lives and mere personal speech, they become sane when 
their singing robes are fairly on, and they are lifted to 
the height which to them is the height of vision. In the 
wildest ravings of the man whose lips some oracle has 
only passingly touched, there is more of that sense which 
the unconscious human sheep, who arrogate it to them- 
selves, mean when they speak of it as " common," than 
is to be found in the bleating of an entire flock of them. 
If a fashion prevails in modern Europe, as in the 



FROM THE EAST. 63 

Athens of Plato, of affecting to undervalue the debt 
which the world owes to its inspired singers, such have 
partly themselves to blame for it ; they think too much of 
the craft which the veriest journeyman can learn for his 
pains, and too Uttle of that vantage ground to which, if 
they be poets indeed, their subtler spirits must occasion- 
ally bear them. More, indeed, than half a poet was the 
great Athenian who taught in the groves of Academe ; 
but falling short of the whole, how was he distanced by 
the men whose thoughts, in becoming concrete, took 
upon them a life beyond that of the unincamate Reason. 
In the great trinity of dramatists, ^schylus, Sophocles, 
and Euripides, poetry and womanhood, love and truth, 
were justified as against philosophy. Through them 
poetry has supplied one of the vastest, one of the most 
worshipful, of the schemes that the world has known for 
the solution of the ever-recurring enigma of being, and 
has anticipated with prophetic vision the time when the 
"last shall be first, and the first last;" when, in truth, 
there shall be no more last or first, but man and woman 
shall become as one flesh. How else but by that higher 
view which belonged of right to the poet, and to none 
other — that upward impulse which is the gift of the spirit 
which in turn bestows wings on the thought — could 
Sophocles have attained to an apprehension of such 
transcendent nobleness, such unvisited depths of emo- 
tional life, as he has shown us in " Antigone," and in a 
scarcely less degree in " Electra," " Ismene," and " Dei- 
aneria"? How came that spirit, free as the genius of 
Poetry itself, to take in this remote hard time the form 



64 FLYING LEAVES. 

of a woman — which meant, as it still means, more than 
half the world over — of a bond-servant ? From what a 
majestic architype in his own generous soul must . the 
poet have worked to have brought forth a figure of such 
coherent individuality, such awful beauty, such a pene- 
trating sense of the underlying realities of life, in an age 
when the virtues proper to women were mostly the in- 
vention of men ! " Wouldst thou aught more of me than 
merely death ? " What a fine contempt of the accidents 
of being speaks in these words of Antigone ! As we 
read, the maiden such as Pheidias might have shaped 
her had Sophocles stood over him, rises between us and 
the page. The whole of the succeeding dialogue between 
Antigone and the tyrant Creon falls, stroke on stroke, 
like the clash of swords at fence. The woman seems to 
rise to more than mortal height in the unequal contest : 
she is sublime, almost terrible, in her fearlessness ; we are 
awed, we shrink before her in her unconquerable pride 
of duty j and then we seem to see the statue quiver, the 
stony aspect flush with life, the image that appeared so 
obdurate melt like a glacier in the springtide. A word 
has done it, revealing the source of her strength. " An 
enemy is hated even in death," says Creon, " Love and 
not hate is that whereof I know." That is Antigone. 
Again Creon : " Down, then, to death ; and if thou 
need'st must love, adore the dead." And she accepted 
the fiat. Not Dante, not Shakespeare's self, has ever 
given us a more affecting picture, or revealed in so over- 
powering a flash the living fountain of woman's strength. 
This creature, who is so real to us who behold her 



FROM THE EAST. 65 

over a chasm of two thousand years — so individual, 
bearing as she does through all her nobleness the marks 
of the accidents of her doomed life — is nevertheless a 
type of essential womanhood. It is no " lesser man " 
that we have before us, no sexless being ; but a creature 
whom Nature has fashioned tenderly for tender uses. 
Yes, we will trust our cause, all causes, to the poets, the 
Seers ; for, of all human witness, theirs alone is true. 
Philosophies are for a day, their systems fail, succeed and 
demolish each other; but the words of the great poet are 
monumental, shaped and welded into enduring beauty ; 
and of all that we possess, this element of poetry, where- 
soever found, is the only thing of which ultimate time 
approves the truth. 

How instructive is the whole of that fifth book of the 
" Republic " which treats of the " Education of Women ! " 
— what a light it lets in on the history and tendency of 
Greek thought ! It is the masculine spirit working alone 
that we trace in this portion of the wonderful Utopia — 
the Babel Tower whose malarious ruins are still to be 
found in Constantinople and elsewhere under the rule of 
the Turk. Was ever an outrage so callous perpetrated 
upon the human affections as that advocated in this book 
of the divine Plato? What, this dialectician who has 
exhausted himself in the commendation of justice, will 
wrench from the physically weaker half of humankind the 
God-entrusted lives which have been nourished by their 
own, and make common property of that beside which 
there is no possession on earth which can be said to be 
real or personal ? When I read and mark these things , 



66 FLYING LEAVES. 

I turn from the wisdom of Greece ; it has become to me 
fooHshness. I turn from the Acropolis, where stands the 
golden Parthenon, trembling as of its own beauty upon 
the palpitating ether; I look away from it, and the 
system which, within it and around, has reached its fullest 
expansion. I seek a wisdom higher and more fruitful 
than the unmated Reason : the wisdom that is justified 
of her children. I aspire to equal justice, I look for 
unbounded liberty. Not justice for a class, which, called 
by its proper name, is privilege ; not freedom alone for 
the strong, which in some of its relations is tyranny;^ 
but freedom and justice founded as a Pyramid — still 
better, like the everlasting hills, on the broad bases of 
universal humanity. Yes, moved by such thoughts, 
I turn my back upon that fairest of temples ever made 
with hands, and I see in face of it, on Mars' Hill, a man, 
in whose eyes, blinded by the light which met him on 
the way to Damascus, all its monuments, all its pride, are 
as nothing. My soul reaches out from the circle of art 
and policy in which it has for a while been so serenely 
dwelling, as from a shell that has become too narrow, 
and I welcome this voice with a new feeling, with the joy 
wherewith we hail the dawn. It was but a glimmer of 
the coming day, imperceptible in the luminous Attic 
night ; but the power of the Immutable was behind it. 
I seem to hear the travel-soiled stranger, with his only 
partial command of the sensitive Attic tongue, his fiery 
zeal, his love for men and his belief in his power to 
serve them. What is the artistic side of Athenian life to 
him ? The only monument which claims his regard, is 



FROM THE EAST. 67 

the Altar to the Unknown God. In his desire to be " all 
things to all men, in order that he may save some," he 
seizes upon this, and makes it the text of his persuasive 
discourse, the pretext for the delivery of his message. 
Here, then, for the first time the mighty bronze image of 
the Zeus-born Athene — costly with labour, priceless 
with genius — was confronted with the herald of Jesus of 
Nazareth, a name around which the love and faith of 
unlettered disciples had already woven the pregnant myth, 
if no more than myth it be, which was to supplant that 
other. 

The woman, issue of the brain of man, had done her 
best for the world; it remains to be seen — it even yet 
remains to see — what can be compassed by the man, 
born of the heart of woman. 



Note taken from a letter in reply to one from the late 
Mark Pattison. 

" I am not conscious of having so much as thought 
of St. Paul personally in regard to his attitude towards 
women ; I looked upon him only as giving the first 
note of the new order of ideas to the Grecian world. 
But I believe that even had I taken him as the typical 
exponent of the new ideas, I might equally have main- 
tained my position. His utterances on matters of detail 
were those of a man of his day, but the presence of that 
spirit which I presume Goethe means when he talks of the 
* ewige Weibliche ' is as manifest in the writings of St. Paul 



68 FLYING LEAVES. 

almost as in the teaching of Christ Himself. I take that 
spirit to be love as opposed to mere knowledge^ and look 
upon Wisdom as the product of their harmonious union. 
In this connection see the thirteenth chapter of i Corin- 
thians j but, indeed, if that chapter had no existence, the 
passionate intensity of feeling, the warm glow coming 
unreproved from the human heart throughout the writings 
of Paul would suffice to me. Of all that is purest in this 
emotion, of all that is distinctively human in the relation 
even of the sexes, mother-love is the primal source. That 
this was recognized by Christianity, the early multiplica- 
tion of Madonnas and Infant Christs in pictures and 
statues, would alone go far to prove. But unreasoning 
womanhood seems to have felt its part in the new order 
from the first. Witness the earnestness and readiness of 
the female followers of Christ, and the frequent mention 
in the Epistles of the ' honourable women not a few,' who 
were among the most helpful of the disciples of Paul. 
I am sensible that my remarks on Plato may appear 
crude and one-sided, not to say impertinent and indigest ; 
but I suffer them to go forth as they are, because a 
seeming paradox will sometimes stir attention, where 
a fully stated case might fail to do so. The lion has so 
long been the painter, that he is apt too wholly to ignore 
the aspect which his favourite subject may take from the 
point of view of the lioness. If the latter will some- 
times tell the truth, and tell, not what she thinks she 
ought to see, but of what she really sees, many an 
intellectual picture which has hitherto satisfied the sense 
of mankind, may be found to be somewhat out of focus. 



FROM THE EAST. 69 

We modern Gentiles, — 'heirs of all the ages,' — are 
in our feeling of the sacredness of the family, the 
inheritors of the Hebrews : a people owning a deeper 
human consciousness than that which pertained to the 
subtle and keen-witted Greek. The Attic love of beauty 
and sympathy with all that is gracious in life stirs me in 
every fibre of soul and sense, and yet leaves me plenty 
of scorn for the shallow, dilletante Hellenism which would 
set up again the fossil remains, the mere empty shells, 
of ideas which, so far as they were vital, have all ' suffered 
a sea-change,' and passed into the things * new and 
strange' of our many-sided modern existence." 



FLYING LEAVES 

FROM THE WEST. 



LEAF I. 

WEDNESDAY, September 17th, we sight the shores 
of the New World through our cabin window ; 
rise early, come on deck, and watch the various features, 
as we steam through the Narrows into the magnificent 
Bay of New York. The hotel — in form of an elephant, 
with an observatory in the howdah — is an object of general 
interest, and is certainly curious as a joke on an enor- 
mous scale. The aspect of the shores along which we 
pass, more especially of Staten Island, with its villas and 
fine country houses whose privacy is now invaded by 
cafes, is very picturesque in the sunshine of this Septem- 
ber morning. We are glad in the prospect before us, 
but close the eleven days' voyage, which in spite of con- 
tinual head winds we have enjoyed, with some regret. 

" So dearly I have loved the sea, 
So oft its genial flood 
Has cooled my heart, I feel that we 
Are to each other good." 

Then there is the sundering of the chance acquaint- 
anceships which proximity for a time has made close. 
The seats at table opposite our own had been occupied 
by a husband and wife, Americans, whom it was pleasant 



74 FLYING LEAVES. 

to contemplate from many points of view. The handsome 
face, steep head, and tall figure, with its lengthy propor- 
tions of the man, were full of character, and racy of the 
soil which had given them birth. Straight brows, large, 
clear-sighted tolerant eyes, strongly marked nose, and 
lips that wore a smile that dispensed them from speech, 
the impression he made was one of quiet power and 
undoubting self-reliance. His little wife, bright of hue, 
with red-gold hair, played about his sedate mass like 
lambent flame, and in all things lighter and more ex- 
ternal in life, had certainly her will of him. Plump and 
dimpled, with small, candid, light blue eyes, it was 
amusing to see her laying down the law with rosy finger 
laid upon his bony hand. Her speaking voice was so 
rich and juicy, that it supported the slight nasal intona- 
tion without loss of charm, and her singing voice, heard 
above those of the crew in the Sunday evening service, 
had the power to bring tears to other eyes, while hers were 
dry, and she herself apparently unmoved. Withal, there 
was a delightful sense of young motherliness about her, 
and before the voyage was over we had quite well got 
to know the two babes at home who were the delight 
and pride of her heart. I speak of her in the past tense, 
because before we left Staten Island, we had parted 
from her. A gay tender had come alongside the Bothnia; 
the husband and wife got out their glasses, and a light — 
a ray of the sun that lights the world — came into their 
eyes as they saw a little daintily dressed figure alternately 
kissing and clapping its hands, and recognized their little 
three-year-old daughter, brought by some considerate 



FROM THE WEST. 75 

kindness to give them welcome, and lift them in the gay 
tender, out of all the final worry and delay of the landing. 
This sudden flash of home love in this strange land so 
took me by surprise, that I could hardly have been more 
moved for the moment had the child been my own. It 
was " the touch of nature that makes the whole world 
kin." 

Our attention is much invited to Brooklyn Bridge, and 
we are duly reminded of its vast scale. The Custom 
House is reached at last, but we are then only at the 
beginning of our troubles. The hours we have to wait 
before our turn arrives for the over-hauling of our trunks 
seem endless ; but the sense of methodical arrangement 
in part relieves our sufferings from heat, impatience, and 
fatigue. We talk a little with some fellow sufferers, and 
are at last sustained and practically helped by our vis- 
a-vis at table, who has come to look after his own effects, 
and remains to help us with ours. He gives us the ela- 
borate card of his house of business, on which " grocer " 
is inscribed in large characters beneath his name, and 
does not quit us until he has secured, and put us safely 
with all our belongings into, a cab. His quiet helpful- 
ness and mastery of the situation are such that we feel 
like children when his presence is withdrawn. 

What a radiant sun is this that shines upon us, and how 
pleasant is the feeling of mingled newness and familiarity ! 
I think I should know myself in New York had I been 
wafted to the spot on a magic carpet, while the sense of 
novelty is such as I have scarcely experienced since first 
I made acquaintance with Belgium and Germany long 



^6 FLYING LEAVES. 

years ago, and felt the thrill of an unknown delight in 
everything, from the Antwerp chimes and Rhenish 
castles, to the peasants' bonnets and the hotel teacups. 

As the impression of the elevated railways, stalking on 
their iron pillars along the streets, and looking intrusively 
into the second-floor windows ; the light glancing vehicles 
with the trotting horses ; the rich abundance of fine 
fruits j the eagerly busy, well-to-do crowd ; the black 
faces of the already Americanized freemen who were 
lately slaves ; the great length of the streets ; the vast 
proportions and opulent look of the stores, hotels, 
cafes, and private houses, — as all these details and many 
more make themselves felt, a feeling came over me as 
of having suddenly been projected into the twentieth 
century. 

The one thing of material appliance in what the New 
Yorkers have suffered themselves to be outstripped by 
our ancient and venerable London, is in the paving of 
the streets. It is for many a year now, that our wheels 
at home have taken to rolling with the celerity, almost 
with the noiselessness of billiard balls ; and the jolting 
and strain and crash of the iron upon the big paving- 
stones was a final trial, coming upon the prolonged 
encounter of the Custom House, that my strength very 
nearly succumbed under. The five miles of street with- 
out a turn which had to be thus rattled over appeared 
fifty. 

The Windsor Hotel, at which we drew up at length, 
is a brilliant sample of the development to which the 
inn has attained in America. The hall, which is more 



FROM THE WEST. 77 

thronged and no more respected than the street, might 
harbour a fair-sized house. 

It was past three o'clock before we had a htde re- 
freshed our toilets, and were able to get the lunch much 
needed after our early breakfast. Soup, fish, oysters in 
every shape, cutlets, salmi, ragouts ; it was a dainty 
and varied meal when attained, and duly appreciated 
after the rough fare of the Bothnia. Better than all these 
culinary triumphs, there was fruit of admirable quality, 

sweet and juicy by favour of the sun. The dear A 's, 

whom we had joyfully recognized on board, appeared at 

the same table with us, Mrs. A , as much a picture 

as ever, having got herself up with an energy worthy of a 
genuine Yankee. Speaking of that, the appearance pre- 
sented at landing under all the difficulties of the position, 
showed the tenseness to which these fair Americans can 
upon occasion screw up their powers. Dresses, cloaks, 
hats, boots and gloves, which mostly had seemed good 
enough before, were all now changed for something 
better. Men, too, took part in this transformation scene, 
appearing in tall hats and coats of correctest city fashion. 
However persistent had been their sufferings by the 
way, there was no sign of any one having suffered a sea 
change. Though the Atlantic had in no sense maltreated 
me, so unprepared was I for such a final effort, that but 
for a certain faith in republican principles, I should have 
doubted of being allowed admittance to that Palatial 
hotel. 

I have been writing letters and trying to rest while 
E went out to reconnoitre, later on taking a turn 



78 FLYING LEAVES. 

with him down Fifth Avenue. Everywhere is observable 
the same look of material prosperity, to which, two shady 
looking ne'er-do-well figures, furtively flitting from corner 
to corner of the streets we past, always in whispered 
consultation, offered a point of contrast. 

Spent an hour or so of the evening in the drawing- 
room, greatly amused with watching the over-dressed 
ladies and children, who appeared to find in the public 
rooms of the hotel an entirely satisfactory theatre for the 
display of their foreign adornments and graces. One 
lady, throned in a conspicuous corner, her silken robes 
and elegant wraps gathered regally around her as she 
conversed with great animation with an elderly gentle- 
man, who listened with bowed head, was the object of 
our especial interest. Her gestures, general air, and ap- 
parently her style of conversation, were reproductions of 
marked ability formed upon the Parisian pattern. The 
movements of her hands and person were so continuous, 
well-studied, and suggestive, that she produced all the 
effect of an accomplished actress, performing her part 
in one of the elegant Proverbes of Alfred de Musset. 
One was sure that her brief sentences, giving place to 
the briefer responses of her interlocutor, were full of 
American subtlety, superadded to French esprit. As we 
sat watching her, the point of the whole little dialogue 
might be seen to culminate when she tore up into some 
score of pieces a paper or letter with which her jewelled 
fingers had all along been trifling, laid the fragments in 
the palm of the gentleman, and with a rapid side look 
and sign to a companion, who, seated a little in the rear, 



FROM THE WEST. 79 

had occasionally fulfilled the part of chorus, relapsed into 
her cushions with the satisfied air of one who has con- 
ducted a brilHant palaver to its dramatic crisis. At this 
signal the lady in the rear promptly arose, and applying 
her hand to the throne-like chair, which we now saw was 
mounted upon wheels, with no apparent effort rolled the 
fluent occupant, in her graceful re-arrangement of silks 
and laces, and bending her slight adieux to the right and 
left, from the scene she had filled with so much eclat. 
The whole little commedietta had occupied about a 
qyarter of an hour. 

The richly decorated drawing-room of this hotel is 
wholly devoid of furniture other than the chairs, sofas, and 
consoles ; not a table whereon to lay a book or a piece 
of work, if such things could be seen to exist. One 
cannot but feel surprised at the contented idleness of 
these highly wrought, nervous women, so replete, as one 
imagines them, with latent power. I conclude that in 
these spells of inaction they conserve their energy for 
grand occasions; "recuperate," as they themselves 
might say. 

Beauty strikes us as so common a property of the 
American woman in her youth that it almost ceases to 
be a distinction. It is beauty, too, of a delicate type, 
with features indicating what we take to be " breeding." 
Unless these fair subjects of the States owe more than 
would appear to their milliners, the gift is very lavishly 
bestowed throughout the entire person. The American 
woman is thus a beautifully finished creation ; clear-cut 
features, slender proportions, delicate hands, and narrow, 



8o FLYING LEAVES. 

arched feet, with heels and ankles fine-drawn as those of 
a racer. But it must be conceded that she is more 
beautiful in line than in colour, that not only is she 
wanting in firmness and high condition, but that an 
inventory of her perfections would give a more adequate 
idea of them than would be the case with those of some 
of the older peoples, whose charms, if less incontestible, 
are of more magical effect. Then, as is too well known, 
the fair American has at best but a short lease of her 
beauty, some hidden canker seeming to wither it before 
time has been for full maturity. 

It is a constantly recurring puzzle how, according to 
any external indication, to place the American citizen in 
the social scale, for the claim that all American citizens 
are equal it is impossible to entertain in the face of 
patent facts, the steps in the social ladder, though rapidly 
gained, and as rapidly lost, being for the time of their 
possession as jealously guarded a distinction as in 
avowedly aristocratic countries. But how to determine 
social status in the case of chance encounters ? It is the 
accent which makes the difficulty ; not merely that part 
of it which we know as American, but the substratum 
not peculiar to this great off-shoot of the Anglo-Saxon 
race ; not the nasal intonation, venerable as the heir- 
loom of the Pilgrim Fathers, but the twang common to 
uncultivated English wherever found. The incongruity 
of such sounds issuing from the lips of these delicately 
clothed beings — I speak more especially of the gentler 
sex, whose thin voices seem less able to support the 
stress — is a thing not to be overcome ; it greets you at 



FROM THE WEST. 8 1 

every outbreak with fresh surprise. It would seem that 
the very basis of aesthetic culture has yet to be laid, 
where the common speech is controlled by no law, 
where the vowel sounds are all jumbled together, where 
the consonants are usually dropped' out of the account, 
and where the very voice itself is smuggled out all 
flattened or, maybe, cracked, as if it were a contraband 
article. The peculiar cadence, the sing of the voice, 
not always devoid of a certain sweetness, may justly be 
called American, and as such assert a provincial right 
to be; but the illicit manner of its production can 
substantiate no claim. There is but one legitimate way 
of producing the human voice — a way common to all 
cultivated people, whether the language spoken be 
English, French, German, Russ, Chinese, Hindoo, or 
any other. 

Our American cousins and all that pertains to them 
have long been so deeply interesting, so speculated upon, 
and so be-written, that of them or their dwelling-place it 
would seem impossible at this time of day to say any- 
thing that is not trite. Once for all, then, be it 
understood that in the notes I shall take in passing 
I am innocent of all hope of adding to the stock of 
human knowledge. An American writer, Miss Jackson, 
author of " Ramona," has likened herself, while con- 
ducting observations under similar circumstances, to 
a street Arab watching a procession from a lamppost. 
Almost as little science as such a vagrant might be 
supposed to possess, can I lay claim to with regard to 
much that will pass before my eyes ; but in both cases it 

G 



82 FLYING LEAVES, 

is possible that conscious ignorance may stimulate 
curiosity, and that the little incidents of the scene which 
are probably all that could now be new to any one, may 
reveal themselves more clearly to one so little en- 
cumbered with useful knowledge. 

We are full of admiration for the splendid organization 
and the manifold appliances of practical convenience 
that are observable on all sides. The economy of 
human labour is a necessity, a natural corrolary of 
democratic institutions. In this hotel the waiters are 
white, but the negroes we see abroad, servants, and more 
particularly coachmen, are far removed in aspect from 
the thick-lipped, flat-nosed race I had expected to 
meet Their noses have mostly got, or are on their way 
to get bridges ; and a bridge to a nose, like a high road 
in a new country, is an element of progress. One or 
two I have seen, as black almost as sloes, and with wool 
upon the head as dense as that of a sheep, who had this 
feature in a quite advanced state of development ; and 
a young girl in a graceful hat and feathers was an 
accomplished American beauty, looked at through a sable 
veil ; but this last was, I confess, an exception. What is 
this alchemy of climate or conditions which so acts upon 
the human subject ? 

September iZth. — The New York fruits have more 
sun in them, and therefore more sweetness and savour 
than those at home. We begin breakfast with half a 
cantaloupe, a species of melon, and are supplied with 
a spoon, by aid of which we scoop out portions, speedily 
turning the divided fruit into a bowl half filled with its 



FROM THE WEST. 83 

own saccharine juice. The cuisine at the Windsor fully 
substantiates its promise, and is all the more appreciated 
after the coarse fare on which we had the mortification of 
wasting appetites, to which the ocean breezes had given 
an unwonted edge. 

Driving in the afternoon of this day to Central Park, 
we found it not central at all at present, and chiefly 
remarkable for its great extent as an open space in what 
will one day be the heart of a city. Met a good many 
young bachelors driving their young ladies in buggies, 
and derived a further sense of novelty from various 
flowering plants and shrubs not grown out of doors at 
home. Later we took an omnibus, and drove down 
Broadway to Madison Square, where we alighted, and 
looked, into the gorgeous Hotel Hoffmann, all overlaid 
with costly device, the walls and roof of the hall, or 
vestibule, a simulacre of platina, with coppery gleams. 
Some pictures, very pretentious, hard and poor, in the 
smoking-room. 

On the 19th we started by rail for Saratoga, leaving 

with regret the kind A 's to settle themselves in their 

new environment. The train taking the right bank of 
the Hudson, gave us many interesting pictures, but 
nothing which, after all we had heard of it, was startlingly 
fine. The leaves of the sumach and smaller maples now 
beginning to turn, give us a foretaste of the good things 
to come. Beds of wild flowers grow in places by the 
side of the line as thick and close as those in the Alps. 
But more than all else striking and comforting, is the 
look of ease and abundance, of room and to spare to 



S4 FLYING LEAVES. 

breathe, and to be in ; hardly a cottage on the river banks 
that might not be called a villa, and all seemingly well 
kept and home-hke. The drawing-room car we found so 
convenient in all respects, that the fatigue of this journey 
was as nothing, though starting about three in the 
afternoon ; it was past eight before we reached Saratoga 
Springs. 

The United States Hotel, where we put up, is so 
monstrous a construction that I took the quadrangle in 
the midst for the public square and the buildings sur- 
rounding it for the town. On passing into the hall 
we were confronted with an array of negro waiters, all 
lounging lazily on a long bench. Although the noses of 
these Africans were clearly rising, the rest of their persons 
were far from having undergone such modifications as 
were perceptible in those we had seen in New York. 
They were oddly sorted as to size— here a giant, and 
there a pigmy ; but all had the same reluctant, shambling 
gait, with the same splashy sounding fall of the flat, splay 
feet, the same air of groaning under the slightest burthen, 
and being repelled at the least obstacle. Their air is not 
joyous, as I had expected; but as the little train of 
strangers passing through the hall demands their service, 
they exchange glances among each other, the flash of the 
white eyeball accompanied with something of grimace, 
when they pull themselves together and lead us forward 
to our respective chambers, with a grotesque sort of 
swagger, as if conscious and proud of their broad-cloth 
and abundant shirt fronts. But I am forgetting that 
the hour was late, the season far advanced, and that if 



FROM THE WEST. 85 

we were fresh after our easy journey, and feeling alert 
among new surroundings, these poor fellows were pro- 
bably neither, and having possibly passed through a long 
and busy season, were naturally inclined to resent the 
appearance of new-comers at a time when it was sup- 
posed to be closed. 

Having supped, we found our way into the big drawing- 
room, in which, as it was late in September, only some 
score of belated invalids were lounging on the blue satin 
sofas, or bobbing at each other like China mandarins 
as they chatted and swung to and fro upon their rocking- 
chairs. There was music in the vestibule without, but 
there rested upon the scene something of the weight and 
dullness which marks the end of all things. 

Saturday, the 20th, we leave Saratoga by rail, having 
first walked through the principal street, to which the 
large elms bordering it on either side give character, and 
visit the beautiful gardens where the gay world drinks the 
waters and disports itself Many plants flourish here in 
the open air that will not so grow with us ; but that may 
possibly not be the case with a beautiful hydrangea that 
I noticed in Central Park and here again. 

The scenery in this day's journey is by no means 
remarkable, the trees not having yet taken on the colours 
of the "fall"; but the same well-to-do look is observable 
in towns, villages, and country houses, chiefly timber- 
built. The staple crop is Indian corn, the harvest of 
which, mostly reaped if not gathered in, reveals an under- 
growth of great orange-coloured pumpkins, or squash, as 
I believe it is called 



86 FLYING LEAVES. 

There being no Pullman car at this hour on this line, 
we look democracy -for the first time in the face; and 
whatever may be its merits, they are hardly of a nature 
to provoke love at first sight. Unwashed, unchanged, 
and unkempt men and boys — the latter of preternatural 
gravity — sprawl upon the seats in ingenious variety of 
attitude, with dirty boots and perhaps more dangerously 
dirty heads, upon the Utrecht velvet. There is none of 
the instinctive chivalry with which an English workman 
will recognize the presence of a lady, and yield to delicate 
nurture what it may be too truly gentle to claim for 
itself 

We take the steamboat on Lake Champlain — a vast 
peripatetic hotel, furnished with every convenience and 
even luxury. The views are at many points beautiful, 
but the lake, as a whole, can hardly compare with the 
finest to be seen in Europe. It is immeasurably less 
striking than Lucerne or Thun, and less appealing to 
the imagination than the lonely Scottish tarns, with 
their mysterious veilings and unveilings. But I fancy 
we do not see Lake Champlain at its best. These 
natural beauties have their days, and this one is not 
only somewhat unfavourable, but draws to an end 
some hours before we disembark, which we do in the 
dark at St. Albans, and go stumbling along with our 
hand-baggage, finding, and occasionally losing, our doubt- 
ful way to the railway station, from which we are shortly 
to start for Montreal. We feel with our feet rather than 
see that there are rails running close beside our path ; and 
I experience a moment very nearly of panic when I hear 



FROM THE WEST. 87 

the rush of a train, and something of a shudder when 
I see it sweep round in a noble curve and cross the track 
upon which, in another second, it would have overtaken 
us. I never before so fully realized how cheap the 
individual life may be held. 



88 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF 11. 

WE reach Montreal at eleven at night, and feel 
ourselves as much de trop in the hotel — a very 
fine one, and again the '• Windsor " — as is inevitable with 
all hungry travellers who arrive when the waiters are 
weary. 

Sunday, 21st. — Just returned from a drive in this light, 
invigorating air to the royal mount which gives its name 
to the city, having first made the round of the town, and 
seen the place at which the Congress was lately held. 
The panoramic view from the height is superb, and the 
town handsome and cheerful enough; but I find it 
difficult to do justice to strange cities, long lines of 
indistinguishable human dwellings being so little to my 
taste. Most things in the States are valued according to 
price. Our driver to-day amused me by judging every- 
thing by weight. Foxhounds he desired to disparage, 
weighed but so many pounds ; a horse to be commended, 
so much ; a Frenchman who with two successive wives 
had distinguished himself by being the father of twenty- 
two children, and who, our informant declared, was *'as 
fine a Frenchman as ever stepped," weighed two hundred. 

Monday, 22nd. — A trip by rail to the St. Lawrence 



FROM THE WEST. 89 

river, where we take the boat for the rapids. Truly a 
mighty stream, and the entrance to the rapids between 
the wooded islands is magnificently picturesque ; but the 
rapids themselves are less sensational than we had ex- 
pected — possibly because the great Atlantic waves are too 
freshly remembered. 

Our journey thus far has been an unbroken success. 
As our time is restricted, and we have great plans in our 
heads which we hope to execute after the visit to Wis- 
consin which is the main object of our trip, we cannot 
afford to linger long in Canada. I re-arrange our 
travelling effects, as we shall not again see our big boxes 
before we join them at Chicago, and feel that I reap the 
benefit of the organization which cost me so much in 
thought and strength at New York. We leave Montreal 
this evening. 

Ottawa^ September 22nd. — We have had a pleasant 
journey in a Pullman car, which is effectively a first class, 
although one may not call it so ; at least, when in the 
States. A most beautiful effect of luminous after-glow 
seen on the Ontario river just at the spot which is said to 
have inspired Moore's Canadian boat-song, "Row, 
brothers, row." 

At the station at Ottawa we, the passengers about to 
alight, are assailed by a strange chaunt, all the touters for 
the different hotels who are there with their respective 
omnibuses singing out their names in chorus. The house 
we have been advised to choose as the best in the place 
is very rough. We walk out in the semi-obscurity of the 
ill-lighted, ill-paved streets, and the Redeau Canal, its 



90 FLYING LEAVES. 

banks encumbered with timber, looks dark and dangerous 
as seen from the bridge. 

The following morning we drive to Rideau House, 

and E delivers a letter from the Foreign Office. All 

in confusion ; no room even ready for the reception of 
accredited strangers. I fear it is true that we English are 
niggards of courtesy. Call on Miss D , and are intro- 
duced by her to her pretty and gifted friend, Mrs. H , 

and her very agreeable husband ; the lady evidently 
fretting at the narrow field in which the talents she is 
happily young enough to place unmeasured confidence 
in are confined. The husband and wife kindly con- 
ducted us to the government buildings, which crown a 
magnificent site overlooking the river, and are of imposing 
effect. The style is Italian gothic, and the mixture of 
the cool, cream-coloured sandstone of the body of the 
structures and the red sandstone, which gives touches of 
rose to the arches of the doors and windows, takes the 
rawness from their newness and is very contenting to the 
eye. The nucleus of a public picture gallery, established 
by the Marquis of Lome and the Princess Louise, is of 
very feeble promise, although a portrait of Miss Montalba, 
painted by the latter, is remarkable as the work of an 
amateur. A canvas, presented by these ex-governors, 
which covers a considerable space of the wall, would 
certainly have afforded more enlightenment to public 
taste had it helped to feed a bonfire. 

The air of Ottawa is still impregnated as with the two 
genial presences of Lord and Lady Dufferin. Their 
reign is remembered as a sort of golden age of good 



FROM THE WEST. 9 1 

rule and gracious amenity. In passing through this 
portion of our Greater Britain,' seeing the riches of its 
soil, feeling the pure breath of its high heaven, and 
noting the strong manhood that is born of them, I could 
not but reflect how fruitful a field for the advancement 
of human interests had been left unworked by one 
whose position would have given facility to her efforts. 
It bodes ill for the continuance of monarchical institu- 
tions when the members of royal houses forget the con- 
ditions on which alone it is permitted to occupy high 
place. " He who would be the greatest of all must be 
servant of all." It has never been for purposes of self- 
pleasing that men have been lifted above their fellows. 
The great ones of the earth when other than ghostly 
shadows are heavily burthened with duties, but they get 
glorious help in the performance of such by the grace of 
their estate. What would not some of us, who are 
doomed to beat the air in our endeavours to spread a 
little light, give for the purchasing power of a smile or a 
persuasive word which, stamped by royal lips, have 
become as current coin. 

The Marquis of Lome, coming as he did when all 
hearts were sore for the loss of Lord Dufferin, has yet 
left grateful recollections behind him. The advent of 
the Princess Louise was hailed as an era in the history 
of the loyal Dominion; but a little rift which opened 
early was suffered to grow wider until it ended in mutual 
indifference. The Canadian ladies, in rendering homage 
to the representative of the Queen, were not accustomed 
to bare their shoulders in broad daylight to the keen 



92 FLYING LEAVES. 

tooth of their native air. The Princess insisted both by 
precept and example ; and old or young, well or ill-con- 
ditioned, declined to see the faces of the ladies without 
their shoulders. The proud spirit of the Canadian 
dames, more especially of the old French families, was 
roused ; and the Princess, in her intermittent appearances 
upon the scene, presided over drawing-rooms which 
were very meagrely attended. 

We leave Ottawa on the afternoon of this well-filled 
morning for Brockville, where the hotel, if smaller, has 
somewhat more of the appliance of civilization than that 
at Ottawa. We are amused at our table companion, a 
heavy, powerful Canadian, a strange mixture of shrewd 
good sense and simpUcity, who, while showing a great 
deal of clumsy homage to the strange lady, addressed 
me from time to time in the heat of conversation as 
" my dear woman." 

The weather very warm both day and night. 

September 2^th. — We wait four mortal hours on the 
quay for the boat which is to take us to Toronto, and, 
almost wearied out, are on the point of returning to the 
hotel for lunch when it is announced. 

The steamer on which we at length embark is far from 
being so fine a one as that on which we traversed Lake 
Champlain, and is, moreover, horribly dirty. The passage 
through the Thousand Islands of the river St. Lawrence, 
is the lovehest thing we have yet seen, and the warm 
wind, though very high, allows of our remaining on deck, 
and, taking its balmy passage through and through the 
system, has effectually blown away my cold. One could 



FROM THE WEST. 93 

have floated in high content among these fairy isles, stud- 
ding hke jewels the broad bosom of this noble river, had 
it not been needful to renew the waste of life with food ; 
but the eating of the unpalatable and manifestly unclean 
messes was an operation of such acute suffering, that I 
really felt it might almost have called for chloroform. 
Had not another will reinforced my own I should have 
chosen starvation in preference. We passed a tolerable 
night in the close quarters of an exceedingly small cabin, 
and are surprised at the amount of motion on Lake 
Ontario which we have now reached. We have left 
beauty behind us with the river, and conclude that a big 
lake, being a little sea, is at all times uninteresting and 
occasionally disagreeable; the little sea having little 
waves, and often a very short temper. 

We reach Toronto at six o'clock of the evening of the 
25th, instead of at ten in the forenoon, and are heartily 
glad to be quit of the unsavoury, ill-kept Corinthian. 
We are delighted with the aspect of Toronto, a busy ^ 
thriving city into which the neighbouring country seems 
to have taken a walk, the streets being lined with long 
processions of tall, flourishing trees in full leafage. At 
our hotel, the Queen's, which leaves nothing to ,be 
desired on the score of comfort and cleanliness, we are 
able to recruit a little. We walk about and view the 
streets after dinner, and the following day drive through 
a pleasant park, rejoicing in delicious sunshine, to the 
University Buildings, which we take to be a truly admir- 
able adaptation of the Norman style to modern uses. I 
speak with the utmost diffidence of lay opinion concern- 



94 FLYING LEAVES. 

ing architecture, albeit it is an art which disputes with 
music the power of impressing me emotionally. What is 
certain is that the lines of this edifice are picturesquely 
varied, the details very rich in thought and carefully 
worked out, everything about it sound and true, and that 
the total effect was felt by us to be delightful. After 

spending some time in the interior, E was wrought up 

to such a pitch of enthusiasm that nothing would do but 
he must knock at the door of the manager or principal, 
and discharge himself of some of the overplus of feeling. 
We found a very intelligent Scotchman, to whom we 
expressed the pleasure we had been thankfully enjoying, 
and who" received the tribute with apparent satisfaction. 
He told us that the design had been the work of an Irish- 
American ; that it had been a labour of love we needed 
no assurance, there being nothing stereotyped or perfunc- 
tory anywhere about it, but all heaped full of happy 
impulse and joy in creation. 

In the afternoon we take the boat for Niagara, a short 
passage of about three hours over Lake Ontario ; walk 
up and down the platform and enjoy the pleasant view 
on the Lake at Youngtown, at the commencement of the 
Niagara river, and await the train which is to carry us 
on. We reach Niagara village, where we alight from the 
train, and I sit at the station and watch a glowing sunset, 

while E seeks out the old Swiss whose hotel had 

been specially commended to us, but where we are in 
doubt of being received since we hear that he is ill. 

E returns with the report that the old man is lying sick 

unto death, and in consequence we hire a carriage and 



FROM THE WEST. 95 

drive with our baggage to Clifton Hou^, a change of 
destination which procures for us during the two days 
and three nights of our stay, the sight and sound of the 
Falls at the very best point. 

We are greatly excited when, after watching the dying 
out of the rich clear light in the west, we hear the soft 
thunder of that voice, and see the silvery flash and gleam 
of the vast cataract descending in the twilight. It was 
doubly delightful to come upon it so unexpectedly ; the 
mind had had no time to assume an attitude, but all was 
fresh, natural, and spontaneous. A little while later, and 
the purveyors for the public pleasure, which was to trans- 
late itself into personal profit, had not feared to play 
tricks with the mighty force, to illuminate a portion of it, 
the American portion, with electric light, and to bedizzen 
it with colour. But it was impressive through all; it 
would take even more than that wholly to vulgarize the 
Falls of Niagara. 

September 27//^. — I awake at the call, the soft thun- 
derous music of the Falls, and, half ashamed of what I 
am about, pass the time between waking and getting up 
in framing an answer in sonnet form. Neither of us cer- 
tainly has shared the common feeling of disappointment 
at the first meeting with this wonder of nature, although 
merely as a wonder it is perhaps easy to imagine that it 
could be something more. Figures and bold description 
will prepare the mind for anything in the matter of 
height and size ; but the great cataract, as seen on this 
September morning, is so crowned with beauty, that one 
falls wholly subdued before it. The shock we feel when 



g6 FLYING LEAVES. 

we see that this Hercules of falling waters has been set 
to work by an Omphale, and is patiently turning a paper 
mill before taking its awful plunge, is at first painful ; but 
I at least am an epicure in enjoyment, and refuse to 
yield the delight that is left, in storming after that which 
has been taken away. 

In all the pictorial representations I have seen of 
Niagara, the object aimed at has apparently been to 
justify the figures. The artists have been crushed 
beneath the weight of the hundred million tons of water 
said to pass over the rock in the course of an hour, 
and have given no notion of the grace and apparent 
ease with which this task for a Titan has been achieved. 
All the surroundings, if we except the paper mill, the 
horrible little railways, and the '' elevators " which take 
you up and put you down in places where you never 
need to be, are of the tenderest sylvan beauty. It was 
with considerable reluctance that I left my point of 
observation at the hotel, where there are broad balconies 
and comfortable rocking-chairs, to drive about in a dis- 
tracting manner to neighbouring rapids and other 
objects of secondary interest. The whirlpool where 
poor Captain Webb had the life beaten out of him, 
appeared a puny power in comparison with the great 
cataract, but the surrounding scenery is wild and beau- 
tiful. The descent to the rapids in the elevator railway 
and the subsequent return is a curious sensation. We 
had made the arrangement that for nine dollars (proved 
to be a gross but not uncommon imposition) all charges 
were to be included with the carriage, on hearing which 



FROM THE WEST. 97 

Statement, the juvenile Yankee, whose privilege it is to 
conduct the steps of strangers along a path which no 
one could mistake, indignantly planted himself. 

" I guess you'll have to find your road alone," he said ; 
" I'm darned if I give my work for nothing." And we 
took our way, amused at hearing this futile service 
dignified by the name of labour. 

From the observatory overtopping the museum one 
looks down upon the mass of water, churned to a snow- 
white foam, seething and boiling in the turbulent unrest 
of ages, of what are called the Canadian Falls. No tree 
or shrub, no crag of dark rock, no hint of a definite 
unchanging line, or note of colour, occurs to break the 
uniform pallor, as the vast mass of the united lakes 
leaps from rapid to rapid to its last mad plunge over 
the horse-shoe shaped height, and a part of it ascending 
in a vapoury mist, hovers as a white cloud, a departing 
ghost, over the wan, fiercely struggling waters. 

In our further drive to the Burning Springs^ we see 
what our coachman, and others engaged in stoning it, 
inform us is a rattle-snake. It is a dusk, wicked- 
looking creature of from three to four feet in length ; 
but it had not made itself, and we are glad its sufferings 
are over, as, driving over its dead body, we pursue our 
course. 

In the afternoon, E returns from the American 

side, in raptures at the varied beauty of the falls as seen 
from thence, and declares it impossible that we should 
leave without my having seen what he has seen. That 
night, however, from one of those checks to which the 



98 FLYING LEAVES. 

poor human instrument is liable from time to time, air 
the harmony of creation is for me disturbed. The falls 
look sickly in their unearthly pallor ; their voice sounds 
importunate. I should be glad to get away from them, 

but am too ill to travel. It is well, for E is bent 

on waiting until I can visit the American side. This we 
do together on the 29th, and although I am still weak, 
having eaten nothing (there is no provision at Clifton 
House for the sick), I am able to enjoy the truly mag- 
nificent spectacle from many points. The side view of 
the falls from Luna Island, so called from the effects 
of Luna rainbow got from it, surpasses all. The torrent 
here flings itself full-breasted over the precipice, and as 
we watch it, descends, a sea of diamonds, into the arms 
of a rainbow, not now a lunar, but a solar one, a tri- 
umphal arch of light and colour. It was curious to feel 
one's self in safety so near this vast and deadly power ; 
but about Niagara there is a syren beauty which charms 
away all sense of terror. On the fallen trunk of a tree 
which served us for a bench, we sat some time in the 
last of the Three Sister Islands. Before, all around us, 
were the rapids; they were hurrying, almost leaping 
upon us as we sat there. The barked, limbless trunk 
of a tree cut the sight of them in two ; to the left the 
waves were beating upon the wreck of a raft. The 
elements of the scene were in themselves anything but 
peaceful, and yet a strange peace seemed to fall upon us 
as we looked. Was it that the final catastrophe was so 
near at hand ? I could not but think that these rapids, 
so fresh to the sense, so musically fresh to the ear. 



FROM THE WEST. 99 

carrying forward the thought to the final plunge, would 
offer a great temptation to one who was weary of life. 

At 1.30, we started by train for Chicago, sleeping, 
not too uncomfortably, in the train. An old man, who 
appeared to be a power on the line, entertained us with 
characteristic, somewhat boastful eloquence, and shocked 
us not a little with his detestable habits. 

Arrived at Chicago on the 30th. A city laid out on 
a Brobdignagian scale, still in course of erection. Several 
public buildings of vast proportion, some, notably the 
new Court House, of great beauty. The last named 
struck us even as a work of genius ; all that is most 
energetic, all that is best, in the struggling life of this 
great trade centre, having found expression in it. This 
city is really a marvel ; but it is one that lies heavy on 
the heart ; in any case, it does so on mine. 

The signs of a material prosperity so disproportioned 
to any higher need or use to which it could be applied, 
are overwhelming to the spirit. The hotels, the ware- 
houses, the retail stores, are many of them vast palaces. 
In one shop, that of Marshall and Field in Washington 
and State Streets, there are fifteen hundred employes, 
and we were agreeably surprised at finding ourselves 
attended to with some civility; for in Chicago de- 
mocracy is rampant. The girls in a toy shop at which 
we made some purchases tossed their heads or lent a 
deaf ear to our demands, and spurned us from counter 
to counter in pursuit of what we wanted, snatched our 
money, and almost threw our newly acquired possessions 
in our faces. We should have left the shop altogether 



100 FLYING LEAVES. 

unserved, had not E 's temper broken into sudden 

ebullition j whereupon the little bully who had been the 
last to ill-use us got a shock, and became suddenly 
amenable. The wares in these magnificent stores are, 
for the most part, hideously vulgar, especially the furni- 
ture and wearing apparel ; much, on a bigger and 
costlier scale, such as might tempt the money out of 
the pockets of the thriftless, well-to-do hands in one of 
our own mining districts. The fancy goods in the way 
of wearing apparel, are showy and trumpery — heavy 
cotton-backed fabrics, thinly faced with satin and orna- 
mented with tinsel, beads, bugles, and such like ; little 
or no fine fur for women's wear, no real lace that re- 
quires any knowledge for its appreciation. The people 
of Chicago, all wealthy as they are, have not yet learnt 
how wealth can be decently squandered. The streets 
and pavements are dirty and ill-kept; the floor of the 
bar which belongs to every great hotel, as filthy as 
the street. There are naturally few flower shops, and 
in those the flowers are of common sorts and in bad 
condition. Luxury in flowers is a sure guage of the 
measure of material refinement and culture of the 
beautiful. The whole city, and all within it, appears to 
belong to the proletariat. The streets, as busy as those 
of the city of London, are crowded with one class, the 
faces of the men eager in the pursuit, those of the 
women in the scattering, of money; for the American 
woman, both at home and abroad, is the most passionate 
shopper in the world. Here and there may be seen a 
man having a dangerous look, a look somehow suggest- 



FROM THE WEST. lOI 

ing a bowie knife not far off, and of wild experiences in 
the background. There is such an air of battle and 
struggle in this busy world, that one cannot but look upon 
the Chicagoites of to-day as the true heirs of "the Indians 
who existed on the same ground but yesterday in a state 
of perpetual warfare. They don't take each other's 
scalps, it is true, having learnt how little they are worth 
(barren honour being of all things the one at the lowest 
discount) ; but I think it to be pretty well understood 
that there is nothing about a man that could be 
estimated by dollars which is not held by himself and 
his fellows to be fair game. 

Few things in America as yet have interested me 
more than this great industrial centre j it seems so to 
embody the spirit actuating the Anglo-Saxon race in 
its present stage of progress in the West. Of course 
that point is one of active transition, and as yet every- 
thing strikes a casual beholder from the Old World 
as raw and inchoate; but none the less is the energy 
which has reared this giant city from the ashes of 
the fire which swept it from the earth only fourteen 
years ago, among the greatest wonders of material pro- 
gress. The practical application of science is here in 
advance of anything we can show at home. Telephones 
are in constant use, and omnibus cars move along the 
streets without horses or any visible motive power, the 
cable by which they are worked being concealed in a 
groove below the level of the street. But perhaps of 
all things the confidence of this old-young people in the 
future is that which most impresses me. The idea of 



102 FLYING LEAVES. 

a city with them does not seem to grow — it leaps 
into life. 

Around Chicago there are fifty miles of boulevard, 
intersected by parks, twelve in one direction right on 
end. Fifty or sixty years ago the wigwams of the red 
man were all that were to show in the way of archi- 
tectural display. Eleven years ago that which is now 
the heart of the city was sown with the cinders of the 
recent fire. That calamity has given rise to special 
precautions to secure the new edifices from its re- 
currence. Walls and flooring, in the case of the public 
buildings, are lined with earthen cubes, rough without 
and highly glazed within, divided into four compart- 
ments, and thus completely fire-proof. 

Having walked the streets of Chicago, and peered 
about me with curious intent, I cannot call to mind 
having seen a single man or woman whose appearance 
unequivocably denoted a lady or gentleman: plenty 
of good-looking, even handsome, people, and mostly 
in good clothes as judged of by cost ; very generally 
young and amazingly self-confident ; people who it 
might be assumed, from their facial expression, were 
as little dependent upon human sympathy as it is 
possible for live men and women to be ; ladies and 
gentlemen very probably in the making — and progress 
in this, as in other departments of industry, is doubtless 
rapid in the States — but assuredly as yet only the 
raw material. It does not take long to warn a person 
with moderately quick perceptions that in this city 
of amazing mechanical, appliances mortal help is a thing 



FROM THE WEST. I03 

not to be thought of. It is altogether an outworn 
idea, not a Yankee notion at all, but something to be 
classed with spinning-wheels and pillions, the demand 
for which would be met with incredulous scorn. As an 
example of the kind of response a stranger's appeal for 
aid is liable to meet in the West, I will give a case 
which, though not our own, is perhaps more typical of 
what generally befell us than any one instance which I 
could cite. 

A mild gentleman, whose speech was rendered hesita- 
ting by the haste and speed around him, addressed a 
street boy in State Street : " I want to go to a Hundred 
and Twenty-seventh Street," he said. 

The boy looked sharply into his face, doubting the 
evidence of his ears ; satisfied himself that the mild 
gentleman was capable of the foolish question, and 
retorted, " Then, why the devil don't you go ? " 

A certain hankering for literal truth obliges me to 
state that the urchin did not say *' devil," as I have 
more mildly put it, but rapped out broadly the name of 
the place where that dark potentate is supposed to dwell. 

We delivered only one of 'our letters since our stay 
was to be brief, and it is but fair to Chicago to say 
that the courteous and erudite gentleman who is the 
chief librarian is well satisfied with his residence. He 
had the good taste, while offering us kindly service, not 
to press upon us the sight which it is said no stranger 
can escape — the making namely of pigs into pork ; and 
we quitted the city without having seen the blood of a 
single victim, or heard so much as a grunt or a squeal 



I04 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF III. 

WE left Chicago on the ist of October, and met 
three of my husband's brother's sons on the 
platform at Milwaukee station, where we stopped awhile 
to change carriages. The younger came on with us. It 
had rained at Milwaukee; later on it began to pour. E — 
was uneasy about me, hearing that the vehicle which his 
brother John would bring to the station for us was an 
open one. I was distressed for John, divining how much 
he would bewail his want of means to do better for us. 
The train stopped, and we got out at the little roadside 
station, all in the heartless deluge. The poor fellow was[in 
waiting with his little twelve-year-old daughter Marie, and 
his rough, double-bodied, country trap and pair of greys 
near by. Worn and white and thin as he had grown, he 
was speechless, even trembling with emotion. He could 
but shake our hands in silence, and look the welcome 
which his tongue refused to utter. Swathed like mum- 
mies in our many wraps and waterproofs, we ascended 
the buggy with some difficulty, and drove off under our 
umbrellas in the steady downpour over the uneven road. 
It was a strangely silent meeting ; the mortal years since 
we had met, and the heavily charged sky, seemed to be 



FROM THE WEST. I05 

weighing upon us. The mile that we had to drive ap- 
peared interminable; and shaken and excited as John 
was, and his eyes a little dim with tears, I am persuaded we 
incurred some danger that night on the dark and rough bit 
of road between the station and his house. At his gate 
stood a muffled figure with a lantern, the figure proving 
to be that of the unknown wife and hostess, come with 
her welcome into the rain. The getting down was worse 
than the getting up had been; and brother John after- 
wards acknowledged that he had feared his horses would 
have started for their stable before it was safely accom- 
plished. There was just an introduction and shaking 
of hands under the umbrellas, and we were off again, 
threading our way through the wet bushes of the garden, 
mounted on the little wooden path or stage which did 
duty for the gravel, which was riot. Once in the house, 
our tongues were loosed. We threw off our dripping 
waterproofs, and came forth dry and whole, laughing 
at the consternation of our hosts, and especially at John, 
who seemed to expect that I might have dissolved as 
sugar or salt. There were the children — Adele, a lovely 
little girl, and Willie, a bonny boy — to be made acquaint- 
ance with, and Marie to be looked at in the light, which 
showed her also to be a pretty child, with that fair pro- 
portion and delicate finish of feature, which would seem 
to be the peculiar gift of the American soil to settlers of 
all nations. But in America we seemed hardly to be; this 
village of New Holstein — and indeed the whole district 
on this side Milwaukee — appearing rather a bit of the 
Fatherland transferred from the Old World to the New. 



I06 FLYING LEAVES. 

A sharper contrast than that afforded by this part 
of Wisconsin to Chicago it would be difficult to bring 
together — the restless ambition, passionate striving, un- 
bounded hope, and worldly wealth of the one ; the limited 
aspiration, patient industry, and frugality of the other. 
Our stay at New Holstein gave us an opportunity of seeing 
life from a point which to us was wholly new — life such 
as is led in a locality which a few years ago was the 
bush. This entire region was covered with unreclaimed 

forest when John P and some half-dozen others, 

young friends and neighbours in the Old World, came 
out, bought land of from a hundred to two hundred acres 
apiece, and began life — the hard life of settlers — in a 
new country. Nothing less than youth, with its strength 
and hope and youthful love of the new and strange, 
could have tided men over hardships such as these 
encountered in the early years. Little by little the bush 
had to be cleared before the work of agriculture could 
begin. Help was not easy to obtain, and the wages of 
labour so high that they would have swallowed up the 
profits. There was nothing for it but a hand-to-hand 
fight with nature. The men whose youth was spent in 
such rude labour bear the unmistakable signs of it in 
their now advancing age. All of those still living — men 
of from fifty-five to sixty — have pushed through in some 
way, none have attained wealth as the result of their 
life-long struggles. The wives — all German bred, mostly 
German born — have fared no better than their husbands, 
their labours, as is the case with working women, being 
even more incessant than those of the men; and in 



FROM THE WEST. I07 

addition to household toils, they have, most of them, 
borne many children. It is no wonder if they are prema- 
turely aged, and if grace and physical charm have 
vanished before their time. These excellent souls are 
fully conscious of the hardship of such perpetual service ; 
but, for all this, it is a peaceful, virtuous, and, as the 
world goes, a contented community; and since there 
is little ambition, there is little of carking care. For 
people with the instincts and needs, material and moral, 
of peasants, and nothing more, such a state of things 
might be found the perfection of attainable happiness ; 
and, indeed, in the simplicity, friendliness, and homo- 
geneousness of the little society, there is a distinct charm 
that must be felt by all true hearts. In a thousand ways 
you are made aware that the atmosphere, albeit Repub- 
lican, is other than that of America, that, in effect, it is 
essentially German. The children learn English at the 
school, where all, Protestants and Catholics, are educated 
together ; but few of the older people speak it, and 
German is the language of the home. German also are 
the large families, for those of the Americans rarely ex- 
ceed two or three ; German is the good housewifery, and 
German is that contempt of the body, of its beauty, and, 
in a degree of its health — all of it save the palate, which 
has always struck me as sorting so oddly with German 
sentiment and German thrift. The fare in these homely 
households — and notably in that of which we found our- 
selves members — is dainty and far more cunningly pre- 
pared than we had met with at any of the great hotels 
since the Windsor in New York ; and this appetizing 



I08 FLYING LEAVES. 

cuisine^ with its artistic hors d^oeuvres in the shape of 
schnee-balle, sandtorte, chocolate and countless other 
cakes, is all the production of the ever-kind and busy 
hostess, and is of her manifold labours the crown and 
pride ; that, I imagine, which entitles her to chief dis- 
tinction among her compeers. What with the unwonted 
assurance of cleanliness, and the wholesome flavour of 
these productions — the sweet rye bread, perfect butter, 
milk, and cream, — the warmth of kindness, the long nights, 
and almost too long days of rest, I feel myself better in 
health than I have been for long, and am beginning 
really to pick up flesh. 

I have said that Republicanism is here fully at home. 
Never before have I seen anything so nearly approaching 
to the ideal of equality and fraternity. There exists 
but one class ; the servants even, though not dining 
with us elders, take their meals with the children. The 
result, setting aside personal habits, for which there 
certainly exists no ideal standard, is so largely a gain, 
that it appears with the kindly German nature fo 
have led rather to a general raising of the tone than to 
that universal levelling which is elsewhere apparent 
One is never met on any side by a word or thought 
which can offend, while of the poorest, which are 
all that stand for the lowliest, the voices and manner 
are as gentle and self-possessed as they are kindly. It 
is a relief to find that there are balls, and rather frequent 
balls for the young people, since for the seniors, life 
would certainly be more tolerable without its pleasures ! 
A drive over rough roads to a distant farm, and a visit 



FROM THE WEST. I09 

to fits inmates of from three to four hours, broken by 
coffee and cakes or by supper, according as it is timed, 
must at best be a ponderous amusement. But when 
the male portion of the company sits and smokes, utter- 
ing its thoughts at intervals in the short sentences which 
seem proper everywhere to the bucolic mind, and when 
the females of their kind renew in suppressed tones, un- 
deterred by the awkwardness of long pauses, subjects 
which it might be supposed had dropped to sleep, the 
effort to keep up an appearance of enjoyment can hardly 
be pronounced recreative ; nor do I think it can be 
classed under the head of that " change of work," which 
is said to be " as good as a rest." It is probable that the 
presence of strangers may have banished subjects the 
most congenial and suggestive, thereby imparting an 
air of constraint beyond what is usual at these meetings ; 
but in any case, many consecutive hours spent in pre- 
sence by two family groups, without music, without cards, 
without any influx of new ideas, any keen or experi- 
mental interest in politics or the course of the world, 
could never be very diverting. 

For reading, where the battle of life is so hard, there 
is of course little time, and less for women than for men. 
Nor, as far as I can gather, is the imagination of these 
estimable people, upright and self-sacrificing as they are, 
deeply touched on the spiritual side. They rarely visit the 
inside of a church, and the schools, open as has been said, 
to Catholics and Protestants alike, are bound to forbear 
all religious instruction, a deficiency which, in the majority 
of cases, seems not to be supplemented by the parents. 



TIO FLYING LEAVES. 

Without aspiration, without dream of God or heaven, 
what in seasons of loss and sorrow becomes of the sensi- 
tive German heart ? 

All this notwithstanding, it is interesting to see how 
the worn man whose body has been so hardly used by 
toil, and whose mind has been denied the advantages of 
a brisker friction with the minds of others, has developed 
in this simple Hfe, and how far, as it seems to me, he has 
distanced in all which constitutes true worth, the light- 
hearted companion who made himself so pleasant and 
at home with us during a few weeks long years ago. 
All within has been clear gain, nothing loss, since that 
time, and I doubt if in a busier world a heart could 
have been maintained so fresh. Even the old gaiety 
is there, though it shows sometimes a little pathetic — 
the boyish mirth in the faded eyes, the irrepressible 
laughter shaking the toil-worn frame. Severed as he 
had been from his family for half a life, not a link from 
the chain of memory had fallen. For all his tenderness 
to those who fill his home, the place of the long-parted 
brother was found as warm as if affection had been con- 
stantly kept alive by contact. There is room in this 
good German heart — and German it shows itself by a 
thousand signs to those who know — for the past and 
present, the old and the new. Even the dear first wife, 
with all his loyalty to the second, has never been dis- 
lodged. It would seem that even in America, where 
women have learnt to assert themselves, the privilege 
of the German to two or more wives in succession is 
maintained. It is only in England that, happily for some 



FROM THE WEST. Ill 

of US, these Teutons have occasionally been taught to do 
with one ! 

The house, a fair specimen of others of its class in 
the neighbourhood, is a pretty enough little homestead, 
standing back from the road, in a garden shaded by 
trees, at this time rich with the varied tints of the 
autumn in these parts. The garden, the care of which 
is a labour of love performed in the intervals of more 
peremptory^ work, is a little wild to our thinking, but 
still, in October, full of flowers, none the less thriving 
that they have struggled for their own existence. The 
cottage is entered by the common room, that which in 
English farm-houses is called the "house place." In 
the rear is the kitchen, and on the right the parlour. 
In this last there are three windows and a second door 
which shuts off the staircase leading to the rooms above. 
These are four in number, small and low, with all appli- 
ances for the toilet and the stowage of clothes of an 
almost unimaginable simplicity, but perfectly clean and 
orderly, the chamber destined to our use being decorated 
with flowers and leaves. All before the house is a 
verandah, where in such fine weather as the present, 
the family resort in the moments of leisure. 

In the mornings, after breakfast, the brothers usually 
walk ofl" together ; linger about the farm, looking at the 
stock or the winter crops, or saunter into the houses of 
friends ; the younger of the two, though he looks the 
elder, proud and happy, and with a certainty of neigh- 
bourly sympathy in his joy which is never disappointed. 
It would almost seem that others beside John had 



112 FLYING LEAVES. 

relaxed the stress of labour in honour of the occasion, 
for all on whom these calls are made are either found 
or readily fetched. The estimation in which John is 
held is clearly shown in the reception of his relations. 

While E and his brother are thus engaged, the 

children at school, and the house-mother busy in her 
multifarious tasks, I am generally to be found in the 
parlour, feeling to myself just as useless a person as the 
" queen " who, " in the pantry, was eating bread and 

honey." The occupation of Mrs. E as contrasted 

with that of Mrs. John is something pitiful. Mrs. John 
having washed and dressed, breakfasted and despatched 
the children, has been making bread, and is now 
churning butter. She will soon be cooking the dinner, 
and will afterwards be dressed for company either at 
home or abroad. I have never heard her utter a hasty 
word, or seen so much as a cloud on her face, always 
self-forgetful and occupied with others, and seemingly 
pleased with the good things which fall unearned into 
their laps. But I know that she is often very weary, and 
sometimes anxious lest strength should fail for all that is 
required of her before Marie is old enough to lighten her 
duties. When I say that all the work that I have here 
found to do is the making of clothes for Adele's doll, 
some degree of self-contempt on my part will be under- 
stood. To judge from what I am told (which I do 
not believe), there is not a stitch wanting, a tape or 
button to be renewed, for anything in human shape about 
the house, excepting only this puppet that arrived with 
us. Sometimes in the afternoon John takes us for his 



FROM THE WEST. 



113 



favourite drives or to return the calls that are made on 
us ; once we walked to the bit of the wilderness which he 
still keeps on his farm in its primitive state. We like 
to be present at the home-coming and milking of the 
cows. In the evening, up to supper-time, we sit in 
the verandah, talk, and admire beyond expression the 
wonderful sunsets. On one of these occasions John 
suddenly left his seat, and leaned, craning over the 
lattice-work fence of the verandah, into the twilight 
garden. Scarcely had he done so, when I felt stricken 
as if shot by an odour so horrible and so penetrating 
that my hands went up to my nose, and my head went 
down into my lap, in the vain endeavour to shut it out. 
A cry arose simultaneously on all sides : "A stink-katze ! 
a stink-katze ! " and John and the children and the dog 
were immediately scattered in various directions in hopes 
to scare the dreadful creature from the premises. It was 
indeed a skunk that had made the usual proclamation 
of its hated presence. Not long before, one of John's 
cowsheds had been made uninhabitable by such a visit, 
the cattle refusing to enter it until it had been fumigated 
and whitewashed. Jiirgen came from the bedroom to 
which he had retired for the night, the familiar fear 
having dissipated even the first approaches of sleep. 
John and the young ones were wild with excitement ; 
Sport, the fat bull-dog, almost crazy. Puff after puff as 
the wind blew our way came up with a force which 
almost knocked us down ; and still there was nothing to 
be seen. Presently the soft evening breeze regained its 
sweetness, and all was again peace ; but I think that the 

I 



114 FLYING LEAVES. 

memory of that crystaline sunset will ever come back to 
me, dashed with the smell of the skunk. 

I am told that the animal, which knows so well the value 
of its own power of repulsion, using it on all occasions as 
a weapon of defence — a creature detested of man and 
beast — is very pretty, even engaging in its aspect. It 
must also be singularly blunt in perception, or hardened 
to opinion, since, hated as it is, it is very confident in 
approach. Instead of flying before the face of man, as is 
the wont of wild animals in general, the skunk, with its 
white breast and in its handsome dark fur, will come 
dancing up delicately, its tail in the air, foot over foot 
almost crossing each other in their dainty steps, and 
with what you might swear was a smile on its little cat 
face ; then, while you probably stand dumbfounded by 
its assurance, will make mien with feline cajoleiy to rub 
itself against your legs, when — poof ! you fall, felled like a 
tree, strangled with the breath that does not dare to come 
out of your nostrils, and like to die of the infernal stench. 

The elder people here, those who, although his seniors, 
have come out to settle later than John, when they feel 
to be very cos}'" and comfortable, continually drop into 
low German. The delight depicted on these faces, so 

full of simple kindness, when E repHes in the tongue 

of his childhood, which he remembers as if he had 
never spoken any other, is only comparable to that worn 
by grandparents when listening to the lispings of another 
generation. Fired by this success, I also make some 
ambitious attempts in the same direction, which meet 
with what might be called a succes d^ indulgence. In short, 



FROM THE WEST. II 5 

nothing that we do but seems to redound to our credit 
with these ready-made friends who have long known all 
about us to the minutest particular. 

The end has come to our peaceful and pleasant time 
at New Holstein. The parting has been too sad to dwell 
upon, only we have persuaded ourselves, and I hope 
truly, that the visit must be renewed at some future date. 

The whole family were at the station to see us off. 
Jiirgen and Willie — the " Dicke " — had gone in the 
cart with our luggage ; John, his wife, and Ad^le were 
with us in the trap drawn by the greys, Marie was 
running in advance, and Sport was bringing up the rear. 
Just as heartless as the rain which had tried to damp our 
joy at meeting, was the sunshine which now laughed 
down upon our regret. True as this was on every side, 
it was John's sorrow in losing again the brother, whom he 
had found so intact, that weighed the most heavily upon 
us all. Well, it is over ; we are thankful for what has 
been, and the ocean will not seem so wide to us now that 
we have once found heart to cross it. 

New scenes invite us ; we are again for Chicago, 
where we rest for the night, and from thence we recom- 
mence our interrupted journey to the Far West. 

Chicago is all alive with the excitement of the Presi- 
dential election. A torch-light procession in the evening, 
the rough-looking population very orderly and self- 
restrained with all its eagerness, which there is reason to 
think is more in semblance than reality, as the funda- 
mental difference existing beneath the party colours. Re- 
publican and Democrat, is probably felt not to be great. 



Il6 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF IV. 

October nth. 

AS I write this we are on our way again, on and still 
on towards the West. We have been travelling 
since yesterday at noon ; have spent one night on board 
the train — the " celebrated," over-much touted Burlington 
line — on our way to Denver, and are about to spend 
another. We expect to arrive early to-morrow. It is 
amusing to contrast the inflated descriptions which are 
issued to travellers gratis, with the reality of what we 
have seen on this first eight hundred miles of our way 
from Chicago. A less interesting tract of country, from 
the point of view of the picturesque, than that which the 
line traverses through the States of Illinois and Iowa, it has 
never happened to me to behold. Fine cattle there are 
grazing the hedgeless, and generally treeless, fields, and 
prosperous-looking farmsteads on the earlier part of the 
way ; fields, too, of many broad acres laid down with 
Indian corn. To the husbandman all this has an interest 
of its own, but to the ordinary traveller it soon becomes 
monotonous. The little of wood that we pass has taken 
no colour from the ''fall," and ^the soil as we advance 
through Iowa, becomes sandy and hungry-looking, and 



FROM THE WEST. II7 

the vegetation duller in tone. Still, we are interested in 
looking out upon the new " locations " that have sprung 
up, some probably counting their age but by months, 
upon the track of the great iron way. They are all built 
upon the same rectangular plan ; a main street running 
straight down to the line, a public-house and a general 
store facing each other, a church and school-house in 
the rear, and little wooden houses, looking like child's toys 
set down without any preparation, all dotted about In 
these very young villages there are as yet no enclosures, 
no fields, no gardens, but the length of a cow's tether will 
here and there indicate the extent of its owner's landed 
possessions. 

We missed the sight of the bridge over the Mississippi, 
and the view from it of Burlington, which the guide 
books describe as so magnificent, it being dark when 
the train reached that point ; but we had thus far so 
little appreciated the paradise they had assured us we 
were passing through, that we were inclined not to 
account our loss too heavy. What had indeed been 
surpassingly lovely was the sunset, with its indescribable 
clearness, its look as of heaven opened, and its delicate 
variation of tints; and no less exquisite was the starlit 
night, which, although I did get a few hours sleep, I had 
abundant opportunity of contemplating. The sunrise 
the following morning was a glorious succession of 
changes, dark, upright-standing clouds, like battalions 
of fighting men, catching the red illumination on their 
fronts as they moved forward over the crystal clearness 
to melt into the roseate blaze. 



Il8 FLYING LEAVES. 

A trifle tired in the early part of the day, but both 
of us well upon the whole, and bearing the long jolting 
seemingly better than our neighbours. In the car of 
which we have a section, there are no less than eight 
children — two families, one of three, the other of four 
little ones, and one little girl travelling under the care of 
her uncle, the guard. The family of four is rather a 
noisy and restless one; that of three, remarkably well- 
behaved. It comprises a boy baby, who has the aptitude 
of a Mark Tapley for coming out bravely under diffi- 
culties. He clearly does not derive it from his mother, 
unless, indeed, little vampire that he is, he has sucked it 
all out of her. She is a pallid blonde, with an air of 
indifference to things in general ; and not much wonder 
either, for this very cheerful and eager baby had been 
in such haste to be born, that he had actually come into 
the world when the one he supplanted was only eleven 
months old. 

We see a great deal in print about the splendour of 
the railway cars, and the luxurious travelling in the States. 
Well, the cars, that is, the Pullman cars, are certainly 
admirably contrived, and the workmanship of them, as 
seen in the ease with which the sleeping apparatus is 
adjusted, as perfect as workmanship can be. The com- 
missariat also, though a little messy and unwholesome, 
as cooked food is apt to be in America, is as good as 
can well be expected under the difficult circumstances ; 
but when luxury is talked of, let no one accustomed to 
the gentle amenities of life suppose that his cultivated 
sensibilities are going to be put to no strain. The fact 



FROM THE WEST. II9 

that you are in a democratic country is pressed upon 
you from every side ; no exclusiveness is here possible. 
The seats in the ordinary Pullman sleeping car face 
each other two and two, and there are means of adjusting 
a table between ; but these sections, as they are called, are 
not divided off, the whole car forming but one room on 
wheels. It does not often happen that the company in 
these sleeping cars, the extra price of which makes of 
them practically a first class, is of the rudest ; and where 
this is not the case, the greater circulation of air in the 
interior, and the larger space visible to the eye, takes 
something from the tedium of a long journey. The 
worst is, the close quarters into which you are brought 
with so many strange people, when at night the white 
jacketed negroes have turned each section into a couple 
of beds, one above the other, and have let down the 
curtains on your slumbers or meditations. Very droll it 
is to mark the bulging of the curtains, as the struggling 
bodies behind are getting in or out of their apparel. 
As for the beds, when you once find your way to them, 
they are comfortable enough, wider and better than the 
berths at sea ; but the washing apparatus, and the one 
little closet in which to use it, is sadly inadequate, and 
cleanliness for the time being can only exist as a memory, 
or hover before you as a blessed vision of the future. 
Few have the callousness to take off their clothes and 
go systematically through their ablutions on the inside of 
a bolted door at which half a dozen women and children 
are keeping up a devil's tattoo. 

I lay in my berth the second night on our way from 



I20 FLYING LEAVES. 

Chicago. to Denver, resting body and mind; and looking 
out upon the earth that seemed as in swift flight, and 
upon the steadfast heaven above it, the Great Bear — the 
Plough, as I then preferred to think of it — nearer to the 
horizon by many degrees than with us, appeared to be 
pointing significantly to the virgin soil which had as yet 
never known tool or tilth of man. All for some hundreds 
of miles was at present wild prairie, but the iron road had 
invaded it, and the pioneers of progress were not far off. 
The horizon line of this surface, totally without incident, 
appeared so near, that it seemed as if one might have 
fallen off the world and have had nothing to hold by. 
The sea is ruffled by its waves, but the globe of the 
earth in this aspect looked smooth as a melon. 

The colour and clearness, the light and glory of the 
heavens by day and night have been as balm to the 
sense, aching often for the lack of the beauty so abun- 
dantly promised. 

Denver. — This boasted city is at present little more 
than a great idea in outline; but its situation, with the 
long chain of the Rocky Mountains spread out before 
it, is magnificent. There are miles of avenues of 
trees, almost all poplars, intersecting each other at right 
angles (they tell you the number of these as if they 
were dollars ; they are several thousand). There are also 
many pleasant and well-built suburban houses, some 
handsome ones in course of erection in the city, and a 
few completed public edifices, the most conspicuous being 
that of the Court House. If Chicago is in its preco- 
cious youth, Denver is still in its infancy ; but it is a 



FROM THE WEST. 121 

vigorous child, and promises an early maturity, when it 
will doubtless merit that title of the " Queen City of 
the West," which has been rather too early bestowed 
upon it. It is curious to note how its future vast pro- 
portions seem to exist already in the minds of its pro- 
jectors j instead of its new streets and buildings being 
huddled together as with us in our urban beginnings, 
they are placed here and there at suitable points, with 
a confidence that the connecting links will soon be 
established. We have since driven round and about 
the city; and its streets, in parts only indicated, and 
its long vistas of trees stretching out in every direction, 
give us more and more the idea of a vigorous sketch. 

No wonder that the air is so light and invigorating ; 
Denver is more than five thousand feet above the sea. 
But its fine season is short — too short for the culture of 
many fruits — and while there is no dew, and* hardly any 
rain, there is a long winter and much snow. 

We are oif again for Colorado Springs, or, rather, for 
Manitou, five miles further on, where we hope to 
remain awhile, and recruit ourselves from the fatigue 
of continuous travel. The line runs parallel with 
the chain of the " Rockies," and the scenery becomes 
now for the first time really engaging. The mountains, 
dark and rugged where they approach the eye, aerial blue 
where they recede, are finely contrasted by the groves 
of ever-present cotton trees, passing through all varieties 
of autumnal shade between vivid green and brightest 
gold. Dark conifers, seen here and there within this 
gorgeous belt, give strength to the landscape, and the 



122 FLYING LEAVES. 

Otherwise uniform tint of the middle distance is broken 
by what looks from the train to be gorse in flower, 
mingled with some low, bushy growth passing through 
wonderful gradations of ruddy brown, purple, and grey. 
The immediate foreground is little interesting to the eye. 
The earth, of a pale ashy hue, is covered with short 
tussucks of grass, the colour of which is a sickly yellow, 
with plentiful weeds interspersed. Seen thus in passing, 
the bosom of mother earth does not in this region 
appear to overflow with those daintily devised floral forms 
which move us to passionate love and sympathy in some 
countries of which the main beauty is less incontestible. 
Of course, I have not seen it in spring, which is nature's 
most mirthful season, or in summer, which is its most 
consolatory ; but it is difficult to fancy that this palUd soil 
laughs out as our own does in buttercups and primroses, 
and I can nowhere on the hills detect traces of the 
heather with which the Scotch moors are at this time 
jubilant. That clean, sweet, peaty soil of the Highlands 
which bears it, I have more than once gathered up in my 
hands and inhaled with a sort of rapture. But my con- 
science smites me as I write, or, rather, as I try to write 
and cannot, for the beauty which makes appeal on either 
side. If in such a plentitude of the loveliness that is, 
I cast a thought to what is absent, it can only be that 
as we advance on the road of life our sentiments be- 
come clogged and tangled with the infinite of the things 
that we have seen and known and loved; so that all 
else, even as our later springs, bring to us 

"The instantaneous, penetrating sense 
In Spring's birth hour of other springs gone by." 



FROM THE WEST. 1 23 

We are mounting, constantly mounting, and have already 
seen signs of the fantastic formations which distinguish 
the region to which we are coming. 

We pass Palmer's Lake, a charming spot in the 
mountains where apparently people drink waters, and 
come to Colorado Springs — springs where no springs are. 
The town, or village, with its three or four great hotels, 
lies flat on the plain of the prairie, and the visitors who 
come here for their cure have to drive a distance of five 
miles for their baths and waters. Luckily we have been 
well advised, and we do but step out on the platform 
and change our train for a branch of the Rio Grande, 
which takes us, steadily rising, to Manitou, a lovely 
village in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, where we 
halt for a rest of a fev/ days. The season is considered 
far advanced, and only the Cliff House, one out of the 
four large hotels, is still open ; but that one, fortunately 
for us, has the best situation of them all, a kind and 
attentive hostess, and pleasant little bed-chambers and 
sitting-rooms combined, reached by an open gallery with 
an outlook upon Pike's Peak through the foldings of the 
mountains. This gallery, or verandah, is furnished with 
rocking-chairs, and here you may sit all day, watching the 
changes of effect, listening to the dribbling of a little 
fountain, and " waste the time " contentedly without even 
the aid of " friends." I am writing in our sitting-room, 
within a few feet of this babbling water, with an open 
door, out of which I look continually, watching with 
some anxiety the clouding over of Pike's Peak, the 
ascent of which E is making at this moment. This 



124 FLYING LEAVES. 

mountain, 14,000 feet above the level of the sea, is 
one of the highest of the "Rockies," and exceedingly- 
tempting to attack, it being possible to ride the whole 
way, twelve miles of continual ascent from Manitou, to 
the summit. The peak has been quite blotted out, but 
I now see its outline again ; the party should just have 
reached it. 

Our first drive, the morning after our arrival, was to 
the mountain valley known as the Garden of the Gods, 
and through it, making our exit by the natural gateway 
formed of narrow towering cliffs of red sandstone, to the 
lovely little Glen Eyrie, at the termination of which 
stands the summer villa of General Palmer, president 
of the Denver and Rio Grande railway. The so-called 
Garden of the Gods is chiefly remarkable for its seclusion 
by the surrounding mountains, rocks, and ravines from 
the neighbouring district, and for the fantastic forms into 
which the action of the elements has chiselled the layers 
of brightly coloured stone. Some of these layers of rock 
upheaved, stand on end, towering into the clear blue, like 
cathedral spires ; others stand in groups, looking like a 
petrified menagerie or happy family of beasts and birds, 
but the form most common is that of the mushroom. 
One wearies a little of the perpetual claim made by the 
conscientious driver on your wonder and admiration of 
this show, and it is not until you find yourself at the 
entrance of Glen Eyrie that the enchanting character 
of the beauty of this region is able to entirely subdue 
you. I had waded through whole galleries of photo- 
graphs without deriving the faintest idea of its quality. 



FROM THE WEST. 1 25 

To begin with, colour in this mechanical art is ever a 
dead letter, the yellow and gold tints, which prevail 
largely in these climes, and especially at this season, 
suffering the most melancholy eclipse ; and then, even in 
the matter of form, it is not the beautiful or impressive 
which has in most cases arrested the photographic artist, 
but simply the grotesque. As our eyes revelled in the 
delicate gradations, the subtle harmonies of colour, the 
bare grey stems of the cropped brushwood showing like 
a cool atmosphere between its purple browns, its golds 
and greens, the feeling kindled within one was only 
comparable to that which comes at the call of music. 
The remarkably pretty cottage of the gate-keeper has 
one of the most beautiful outlooks ever seen through 
windows. Going and returning, we had to pull up ; we 
could scarcely bring ourselves to leave it. The soft 
sweep of the valley, with the colour that, like the strain 
heard by the Duke in "Twelfth Night," had "a dying 
fall " ; a sky the intense blueness of which was heightened 
by the contrast of the shimmering golden groves on either 
hand ; the course of a stream that wound, a serpent of 
emerald, through the pale prairie grasses and alfalfa; 
and the groups of pines resting on their shadows, deep 
notes which carried you on and on to the grand dark wall 
of the " Rockies," which bounded and crowned the scene. 
It seems impossible, as I have said, to express the emo- 
tions proper to such an aspect of nature in other than 
terms of music. Continually as we wound our way home 
some chord of colour, some tender modulation, would 
transpierce the sense with a pleasure as keen as pain. 



126 FLYING LEAVES. 

In the evening we walked to the toll for Pike's 
Peak, past the Iron Springs, on the way to Engelmann's 
Cafion, and I thought I had never before been on my 
feet amid such imposing surroundings. We saw some 
blue birds, which I have since learnt to be jays, and 
some pretty quick little creatures, about four inches in 
length, spotted with white along the back, which they 
call chipmucks. There is everywhere growing a sort of 
stiff, spiky grass, seeming to have some relation to a 
yacca, which I am told has a large purple flower. It is 
difficult to gather exact information here, or indeed 
anywhere ; but our driver informed me it was called a 
soap weed. (Query : is it the amale plant ?) 

One day we had a drive of some miles up the Ute 
Pass, which was throughout its whole length finer even, 
and finer by far, than that of the day before; and I 

have never known E so bewitched by scenery ; he 

talks quite seriously at times of crossing the Atlantic 
again for the pleasure of spending a summer among 
these glorious canons. It is truly a wonderful spot ; 
for, 6,124 feet as we are above the level of the sea, 
the mountain air, now in the middle of October, is soft 

as balm. By this time, half-past three, E should be 

well on his way down from the peak, which for the last 
hour and a half has been clear of clouds. I am going 
to the Iron Springs, there to sit and wait until he comes. 

I took my lonely walk up the beautiful glen, and sat 

down, anxious expectancy of E 's return alternating 

with thoughts of those, and more especially of one whose 
birthday it was, at home. It was a relief when a little 
boy, to whose sharp eyes and more accurate knowledge 



FROM THE WEST. 1 27 

of the trail I had made appeal, announced a horseman 
on the mountain-side ; and a complete satisfaction when 
a quarter of an hour later, I espied the one I had come 
forth to meet at a distant turn of the road. The cloud 
I had seen had of course boded no good, and the party 
had arrived at the summit in something like a storm of 
sleet and snow ; but the wind had come and made a rift 
in the screen, and then such a wonderful picture had 
been unfolded, of sunlit mountains beyond a burnished 
many-coloured plain, that the delighted beholder felt 
sure that the part was better than the whole, which in 

landscape is usually the case. As E was hot, and the 

slower paces of the mule very uncomfortable, he rode on, 
and I walked home alone as I had come, only more lightly, 
I am particularly fond of this Engelmann's Canon, and 
could, I think, like nothing in the world better than to 
spend a summer here with all my belongings. I hear 
that in spring and summer the flowers alone would go 
far to make a reasonable creature happy ; and then there 
are the trees, the birds, and the merry little chipmucks, 
all under the protection of the mountains which rise on 
either side, and seem to block up the pass, but which in 
this Colorado atmosphere do not darken or depress. 
There is also a stream whose music is heard from below, 
and all about the sides of the hills pretty cottages, 
often little more than cabins, for the accommodation of 
visitors, and not a few tents, which supply all the shelter 
that is needed even by invalids from May to October. 
In this perfect climate, numbers of people are living in 
health to-day whose thread of life was supposed years 
ago to be fast running out. 



128 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF V. 

TWO tiers of verandah or balcony give a pleasing 
aspect to the hotel at which we are staying. 
When we alighted on our first arrival the guests were 
sitting in little groups about the door, and regarded us 
with that wholly unsmiling scrutiny characteristic of 
Americans. While our baggage was being conveyed to 
our room (that corner one which I have since heard 
they call the Bridal Chamber), I took a vacant rocking- 
chair, and began to look about me. The momentary 
lull which our advent among this company had caused, 
was broken by a voice from the road beneath the lower 
verandah, calling up to some one seated a little in the 
rear of me. It was a man's voice, and, judging from the 
faint despondent tone, a weak and a weary one. 

"Anna, I have lost my keys." 

" Have you so ? " was responded. 

" I saw them last on my drawers, in my room — just 
behind you." 

" Then, I guess you'll find them there," was the calm 
conclusion. If the poor gentleman had made the worst 
of his fears with the view of obtaining a little filial help, 
his ruse was not successful. I turned, and saw a pretty 



FROM THE WEST. 1 29 

young face, with eyes softly fringed, and a delicate nose, 
which, having declined to have anything to do with this 
dialogue, the tone of it had been in a high degree what 
is erroneously called nasal. 

Later on, it was the relation of the quite small children 
with their parents which furnished us the most amuse- 
ment. These sucking citizens of the American Republic 
must in no way have their liberties infringed. That 
first evening as it approached supper-time, a little maid, 
not yet turned ten, was loud in her expressions of im- 
patience for the meal. 

"Are you going in to supper?" she asked of her 
mother. 

*' Well, yes, I reckon I am." 

"It don't look like it," said the child; "but whether or 
not, I am. I'm hungry, and I've got that pound of 
flesh to make up that I found I'd lost when I was 
weighed down at the' ^<?p6t this morning." And the little 
creature rose, and swung with her long legs and short 
petticoats past us all and out of the room. 

When, about twenty minutes later, we two went also 
into supper, we found our young friend alone at a 
neighbouring table, steadily ploughing her way through a 
repast, which, judging from the numerous empty dishes 
which surrounded her, must have been copious and very 
varied. 

" Henry," said the little woman, addressing the negro 
waiter who hovered near, " another beef-steak ! " 

The African vanished with a flash from his eyes and 
teeth as he glanced at the empty dishes, and shortly 

K 



130 FLYING LEAVES. 

reappeared with a full one, the contents of which the 
child regarded for a while, and pushed away from her 
with grave displeasure. 

"I said beef; and when I say beef, I mean beef," she 
announced with emphasis. "What you have got there 
is mutton." 

" You are wanting to make up your lost pound," said 
E , bursting with laughing. 

" And I guess I'll do it," returned the child, her face 
set towards the door in momentary expectation of her 
second steak. She did not share our merriment; she 
was terribly in earnest. 

Two little girls, one six and the other four, friends of 
the seeker after the lost pound, were occasionally to be 
seen either singly or together at one of the tables at 
which breakfasts, dinners, and suppers were served, each 
ranging over a period of two hours. The children came 
when they listed, subject to no rule, and did, ordered 
and ate all that seemed good in their own eyes. 
Their utter insubordination made the despair of an 
Irish nurse. 

During the last two days of our stay, an engaging 
Kttle damsel of barely three was my neighbour at table, 
and I was amused, if a little sorry, to hear from her own 
lips that she was the victim of what she called "bad 
dreams." These I found, upon question, took the form 
of falls from the backs of elephants, heavy puddings 
weighing upon her chest, hobgoblins in swift pursuit, 
and frights from all manner of bogies, accompanied by a 
general incapacity on her own part to run or to cry out. 



FROM THE WEST. I31 

As the little creature's final meal comprised roast meat 
with pickles, fish cooked in cream, sugar-cured ham, 
strawberry tart, assorted cakes, and nuts of various de- 
scriptions, these attacks upon one of her years, though 
doubtless very cruel, could hardly be looked upon as 
unprovoked. 

As interesting as any of the company here, are the 
two negro waiters, who perform between them the whole 
service of the table ; and that, as there are a good many 
people coming and going, demands often very brisk 
movement. Charles and Henry these coloured gentle- 
men are named respectively. It is Charles who has 
appointed himself the special guardian of our interests. 
He is a young Afirican of four and twenty, good-looking 
and alert, the wool of his bullet head closely cropped, 
his skin blue black almost as a sloe. His round cheeks, 
without a'holloWj^or a crease, show a fireshness unknown to 
the white American at any age. His great eyes are like 
black diamonds, and his teeth white and even as a row 
of pearls. Your order given, he disappears with some- 
what ostentatious haste through a door, always ajar, 
which leads to mysterious regions beyond, and as soon 
as may be, a sharp kick is heard on the other side of this 
barrier, and, presto ! the door flies back, and Charles 
rushes in like a whirlwind, his left arm before him in the 
position of a boxer on guard, his right raised high above 
his head with the hand belonging to it turned back at 
an acute angle balancing a tray on which are closely 
packed some dozen and a half of dishes. With these 
he flies to a stand in the remotest corner of the room ; 



132 FLYING LEAVES. 

his motion is so swift and smooth, it is more like that of 
a projectile than of a man upon his own feet ; it is 
almost as if he had kicked himself, instead of the door. 
His entrance is so sensational that every one pauses to 
look, and you feel sure that the life of Charles is culmi- 
nating at such times in one of its great moments. But 
the triumph does not end here. The tray is caught up 
again, and the little dishes with all their various messes 
are distributed, six or more to a person, with the celerity 
of a sower scattering seed. After which Charles retires 
for a moment, wipes his brow, and rejoices in the 
conscious possession of faculty. It is evident that he 
delights in a vocation in which his gifts, natural and 
acquired, have carried him so far; and for me, I am 
never weary of admiring such perfect skill. As for the 
style in which he chooses to work, I apprehend that 
every artist has a right to his own point of view. 

Our last long drive has been to the Cheyenne Canon, 
taking Colorado Springs on the way. The latter is a sort 
of Denver on a smaller scale — the same wide streets, 
bordered by the same avenues of cotton trees, and the 
same fine panoramic view of the " Rockies," only they are 
here a little nearer. The Cheyenne Canon is magni- 
ficent ; beautifully wooded, with rocks rising to awful 
height on either side, here a sheer wall of precipice, 
there a gable, and anon a mass standing up abrupt and 
isolated as a steeple. The river in the midst rushes, 
sometimes brawling, chafed to foam over fallen boulders, 
and at others spreads itself abroad, and repeats, as with 
loving fidelity, every, the minutest, detail of its wonderful 



FROM THE WEST. 1 33 

surroundings. The whole grand pageant which the 
channel unfolds is coloured as nature in these parts 
alone knows how to colour. We met and talked with an 
old wood-cutter, whose lonely cabin was near the entrance 
to the canon, and found him as cheery as the inter- 
course with nature is often seen to make lonely people. 
Exit from the further end of the canon is wholly blocked 
by the cliifs which tower on every side, and from one of 
these descends the waterfall which feeds the river, and 
at this point covers the whole of the basin which receives 
it. The rock near the waterfall is climbed by many 
flights of stairs, which I made no attempt to scale beyond 

the second, but which E mounted to the summit. 

He was some time absent, viewing the canon from different 
points, and near the log house of the little ranche, which 
was the only habitation within sight, he was addressed by 
a boy, who asked him if he was " the gentleman who had 
come to kill the lion." 

" The lion ! no ; there are no lions in these parts," 

said E , smiling and confident, thinking, of course, 

of a huge beast with a mane, and a tail strong enough 
to fell an ox, with a bunch of curly hair at the end. 
"There are no lions in these parts." 

" Ain't there, though," returned the boy. " They are 
all over the woods ; and this one that father and another 
are gone to shoot — and I thought you were coming to 
help to shoot too — has eaten our calf, and mother is afraid 
that it may eat our cow." 

This was certainly coming to particulars, and it seemed 
worth while to ask where a creature with so voracious an 



134 FLYING LEAVES. 

appetite, whatever might be its proper name, had been 
last seen. 

*'Down there in the canon," said the boy; and I 

believe the information brought E back to me 

sooner than he had intended. The wondrous tale being 
told in the hearing of our driver, an intelligent man, who 
received it with great seriousness, I leapt to the con- 
clusion that the beast which had been seen was a puma, 
a creature that existed in my mind as the very type of 
hungry unrest since I had beheld it pacing with quick 
turns up and down its cage in the Zoological Gardens, 
unsatisfied, and, as it looked to me, insatiable. We ate 
our lunch without much thought of the beast, whose larder 
might be supposed to be still pretty full with the frag- 
ments of the calf, and after we had finished we walked off 
together to the mouth of the canon, directing that the 
trap should follow. We had agreed beforehand to do 
this, and my pride did not allow me to cry off, although 
I confess to having felt a little nervous, especially in that 
part where the canon narrows, so that, had the " lion " 
met us by the way, we should have come to very close 

quarters indeed. E *s assurance that the "lion" 

would not pass, did not entirely satisfy me, seeing the 
little opportunity he had had of studying the habits of 
wild beasts. I felt at the moment that I should have 
preferred an African or Asiatic lion, who would have 
made short work of me to this American one, who would 
probably keep his victim longer in suspense, and should 
have been glad to know that these creatures hunted in 
couples, so that there might be a puma apiece for us, 



FROM THE WEST. 1 35 

since I regarded the fate of the survivor of such a catas- 
trophe as far worse than of the dead and done for. A 
good many thoughts rushed into my mind between those 
two walls of cliff, amongst others a comforting remem- 
brance of the fact stated by Livingstone that, having 
found himself on one occasion within the jaws of a lion, 
the strange fascination which snakes and animals of the 
feline order appear to exercise at will, had deprived the 
situation of all its horror. I had often dwelt on this 
before, and gathered some faint hope therefrom, that 
" nature red in tooth and claw " might, through the opera- 
tion of some mysterious law, inflict less anguish than to us 
it seemed ; but I had never had occasion up to this time 
to apply the consolation to my own case. It will be seen 
that I was prepared to meet the worst that could befaL 

The old woodcutter confirmed the story of the lion as 

it had been told to E in every particular ; but I 

derived some practical assurance from seeing that he was 
calmly at work, with no weapon at hand but his axe. 
I was sure that life was worth as much to this cheery 
old man as to us. The fact is, that the puma, unless 
brought to bay, will never attack a man, 

Saturday, October \Zth. — On again after the setting sun. 
I am ashamed of what I wrote not a week ago about 
the soil of Colorado. I looked on this rich nature in its 
season of rest with the eyes of an alien, and in such eyes 
there is no divination. Since then I have learnt to know 
it a little for myself, and more through others. Even my 
own recently gained superficial knowledge would suffice 
to make me love it in a degree. What I hear is, that it 



136 FLYING LEAVES. 

is simply one of the most exuberant portions of the ter- 
restrial globe, and that its pallid-looking soil, baked 
throughout the summer and autumn months, has gathered 
a rare quickening and nutritive power from the sun, and 
that the wealth and variety of its flowers from March to 
September, not to speak of its grasses and cereals, is 
bewildering. 

In the train from Manitou. — We have passed through 
the wonderful St. George's, or Royal, Canon in what is 
called an "observation car"; that is, one which, being 
without a roof, permits you to see the soaring heights of 
the jagged cliffs through the chasm of which you are 
whirled. The astonishment and the awe of it take away 
your breath, and you know you are laying by stores for 
memory ; but it is not in this way that the deep secrets of 
nature, hid in such solemn and heretofore impenetrable 
recesses, are to be won from her. The Indians, who may 
have made a perilous track through this pass before the 
iron horses of the white man were so much as dreamed 
of, I have no doubt had access to much more. Some- 
thing of this the white man might perhaps yet win from 
the red, but for the arrogance which makes communica- 
tion impossible. 

We are passing through a tract richly but not densely 
wooded. The distance is lovely — a mountain range, 
cones that make as sharp an angle and are as clearly cut 
against the sky as those of pyramids. I grieve to rush 
through scenes of such surpassing beauty. I long to 
linger amongst and to explore them, making them part 
and parcel of my being, and feel to envy a man mounted 



FROM THE WEST. I37 

on a mule, past whom the train flashes as he jogs on 
shaded by his sombrero. 

The Marshall Pass — up and still up, the iron road 
winding its sinuous way round the bluffs and spurs of the 
mountains, two strong engines in front, one in the rear, 
those ahead visible, now on one side, now on the other, 
in the abrupt curves of the road, the horses of man's 
making gleaming with fiery eyes, sending forth sparks, 
panting and groaning as with the weight they bear up the 
steep grade. The scenery is to the last degree impressive, 
the awe of it deepening in the gathering twilight, of which 
we are nevertheless impatient. The pace is wonderful, 
seeing how we rise. We overtop height after height, at 
which but a few moments before we looked up. The 
road winds in ever sharper curves, until the great 
mountain becomes figured in the imagination as some 
vast power which is being wound at the command of man 
in the ever-tightening coils of a serpent. We reach the 
summit, and it is wholly subdued. It lies under the foot 
of the tyrant of creation. We are all among the snow- 
sheds, eleven thousand feet above the level of the sea, 
and we have had our tea brought and laid out upon a 
table in our section of the car, and have laughed at our 
comfortable bourgeois attitude in the midst of such 
thrilling scenes. 

My eyes opened this morning upon the desert, 
scarcely visible in the grey dawn, and further obscured 
by the heavy clouds from which there had been a 
downpour that had turned the waste of sand into a 
waste of mud. We are now, at lo a.m., come to 



138 FLYING LEAVES. 

a Stand, waiting by one of the rare stations in the desert 
until a bridge reported by telegraph to be partly de- 
stroyed by the storm can be repaired. A gang of 
workmen is at this moment engaged on it. In the 
meanwhile we are going through a new experience. I 
have just returned to the train, having had a walk upon 
the plain and on the platform, and gathered some of the 
weedy things which grow in the desert sand — rabbits- 
brush, now ripening its seed, greesewood, and wild sage. 
The greesewood, which is only eaten by the cattle after 
the first frosts have touched it, is then found wonderfully 
fattening. At a quarter to twelve we are still waiting. 

Nothing more desolate or chaotic than this region 
could be conceived by the imagination. There are 
tracts where for miles on miles not a blade is to be seen. 
The train — which only started at two — has somewhat 
slackened its speed by reason of the looseness of the soil, 
and now rolls on through an ocean of mud, broken here 
and there by distant rocks which surge up out of the mud 
like islands in a stagnant sea. To some of these the 
strongly marked stratification gives the appearance of 
battlemented strongholds. About the base of these 
foot-hills some violence of nature would seem to have 
heaved the sand into waves, and then left it transfixed for 
ages. There is something indescribably weird in this 
dead, opaque, and silent ocean. And yet under some 
aspects this desert region has a charm, and a most subtle, 
penetrating charm, of its own. Occasionally you come 
upon a tract of which the flora — the little tussucks of 
moss, the reeds, the grasses— appear to be singularly 



FROM THE WEST. 1 39 

varied and interesting (one hears that the soil throughout 
is susceptible of cultivation), and the effects of morning 
light upon the distance are beautiful and fantastic as a 
dream. The strange battlemented foot-hills, when viewed 
afar off and with the rose of the dawn upon them, have 
the vague, tender, floating aspect of cities seen in mirage, 
and must have given rise to a wild longing for shelter 
and rest and human help in the breasts of those poor 
Mormon pilgrims, who passed over these pitiless soHtudes 
in seeking the land of promise, whereof the trail was 
marked by bleaching bones. 

Half-past twelve, and we are still waiting; but the 
^clouds have lifted from the mountains, and the sun is 
again showing out upon the plain. We start again at 
twenty minutes to two. 

We pass over the broken bridge, a crowd of men 
watching our passage. An intelligent fellow-traveller 
has been entertaining us with an account of the manner 
in which houses are lifted from place to place. Nothing 
seems to be impossible to man in this country. The 
change of " location " of frame-houses is frequent and of 
easy accomplishment; but solid brick or stone houses 
are also removed by being put into a frame and pierced 
here and there, as occasion requires, with iron bolts or 
rods. The brick building offers the greatest difficulty, 
but even that is not found impossible. It is quite un- 
necessary for the inmates to quit their migratory domicile, 
and accordingly they usually elect to remain, and are 
transported in their own armchairs to the new site with 
no interruption to their customary habits. 



140 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF VI. 

WE reached Salt Lake City at last, but too late at 
night to see the descent upon it from the 
mountains, which is said to be so fine ; have to trudge 
to a distance from the hotel (the Continental), tired as 
we are, to get some supper, the cook having taken him- 
self off, and the offices being all locked up; made 
good use of our time on Monday morning; called at 
Mr. Goodwin's* office, met him at the door, when he 
arranged to come to us at our hotel at half-past seven ; 
sought out the office of the Woman's Exponent, a fort- 
nightly paper devoted to the interests of Mormonism 
and woman's suffiage, and introduced ourselves to the 
editress, Mrs. Daniel Wells, who was very kind to us, 
and abounded in the information I was most desirous of 
procuring. From her we were able to gather an idea 
of the aspect which this strange faith presents to the 
educated minority of its female professors. 

Mrs. Wells was born in Massachusetts, and from her 
earliest years evinced a taste for literary pursuits. She 
shared the fate of most clever and precocious children in 

* Editor of the Salt Lake Tribune ^ one of the most active 
enemies of Mormonism. 



FROM THE WEST. I4I 

having her opinion of her own powers prematurely exalted. 
Coming of a Puritan stock, she was brought up in a prac- 
tice of obedience still to be seen in some portions of the 
eastern States, but strangely foreign to American manners 
generally. It appears that the parents adopted the 
Mormon faith while she was in her early teens, and she 
followed them as a matter of course. Her mind was, 
however, active and inquiring, and she soon began to 
study the grounds of the new revelation for herself, and 
became satisfied (easily contented woman !) that it was 
the truth that had been offered to her. There was no 
talk in those days of the " peculiar institution " of these 
parts — that of the plurality of wives. She married a man 
of her own Church, and when this further revelation was 
imparted to the Prophet, it is clear that Mrs. Wells fully 
realized that a trial of faith very much harder to bear 
than external persecution, was coming home to her and 
to her sisters. Anxious as I was to learn about this early 
part of her life, I did not press the point. I had heard 
from a lady at Manitou that she had been a widow, and 
had married again into the position of what is here known 
as a plural wife. I ventured to take up the dropped thread 
at this second act. Mrs. Wells admitted the fact of the 
plural marriage, but did not volunteer information on a 
subject which is naturally delicate, if for no other reason 
than that polygamy violates the law of the land. She 
freely, however, answered all the many questions I put to 
her on less personal topics. The families of these poly- 
gamists of the West, unlike those of the East, are very 
large. Two or more wives frequently inhabit the same 



142 FLYING LEAVES. 

house with the husband, quitting it only when the family 
becomes too numerous for the accommodation. The 
Mormon girls exercise freedom of choice, as elsewhere, 
and the marriages are no longer contracted as early as 
was once the practice. The already married men would 
appear on the whole to be preferred to the bachelors, 
a fact only to be accounted for, either on the supposition 
that a plurality of wives among these people implies 
easy circumstances, or that fanaticism among the women 
dominates natural sentiment. 

Not long after our interview had commenced, a lady, 
a handsome young woman with a rather defiant air, 
came into Mrs. Wells' office, accompanied by a little 
girl. They re-arranged their waterproofs and went out, 
when our entertainer informed us that the lady was her 
daughter, and the little one her grandchild, the former 
being the plural wife of a person of some importance 
in the Church. This first marriage in her family, 
made under these circumstances, had occasioned the 
mother much anxiety. The knowledge she possessed 
of her daughter's character and temperament suggested 
doubts of her fitness for a position known to be one 
of trial; for it was noticeable that this Mormon lady 
made no attempt to disguise the suffering incident 
to such a position. She admitted that the condition 
of a woman, sharing with another, or with others, the 
home and the heart of the man she loved, was one of 
perpetual sacrifice — a sacrifice that would be unendurable 
but that it was laid upon the altar of her faith. When 
her daughter had chosen to take up this cross she had 



FROM THE WEST. I4 3 

put up earnest prayers for her and wept bitter tears. 
The daughter had now been married many years, had 
five children, and things had seemingly gone better than 
had been expected, for the mother declared the husban d 
to be a "just man." She further said, what may readily 
be believed, that the situation of a man so placed, was 
one of extreme difficulty. Much, according to Mrs. 
Wells, depends upon his judgment and tact. It is 
forbidden to a Mormon patriarch to show favour among 
his wives ; it is his duty to part his affections, or seem 
to do so, in accurately equal shares. He must never, 
in the most impassioned moment, admit that the balance 
has swayed, Mrs. Wells confessed that the Mormon 
ideal in this respect was not invariably reached. We 
asked for a few numbers of the Womaiis Exponent 
and received in addition two little books — a poem on 
the rise of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and a 
pamphlet on the practice of plural marriage. 

With these as gifts, and a large work, entitled, " The 
Women of Mormondom," as a loan, we were about to take 
our leave, when Mrs. Wells called our attention, as a 
matter of curiosity, to a photograph hung against the wall, 
representing six youths of apparently nearly equal ages, 
the sons of one/ather and of six mothers. A feeHng, akin 
to what one might experience in being brought suddenly 
face to face with some object monstrous to sense, came 
over me in contemplating the likenesses of these six 
good-looking youths, whose births had been so nearly 
simultaneous ! Luckily no remark was called for, as 
Mrs. Wells, leaving us to our own reflections, passed 



144 FLYING LEAVES. 

into an inner room whence she returned with a com- 
panion picture of fourteen daughters owned by three 
mothers. The impression made on us was no longer so 
novel, and leaving the chief issue on one side, we con- 
tented ourselves with commenting on the attractive 
appearance of one of the young ladies. 

"That is my second girl," said Mrs. Wells quietly. 
It was only thus incidentally, and I think by accident, 
that we learnt that she had taken her part in furnishing 
subjects for one at least of these pictures. Before we 
left, we had accepted an invitation to see her at her own 
house on Wednesday evening, and made an appointment 
to call in the afternoon and accompany Mrs. Wells on a 
visit to Sister Smith, or Mrs. Eliza Snow, one of the 
widows of the Prophet, and a high priestess of her order. 

This visit was singularly interesting. Leaving Mrs. 
Wells' office, we passed through the back precincts of a 
dwelling which she pointed out to us with the words, 
"This is my husband's house," adding, "You have now 
seen a Mormon's back yard, in which our enemies will 
tell you we have all sorts of horrors concealed." The 
home of Mrs. Wells herself — that to which she had invited 
us — is some blocks off. 

Nearly opposite to the handsome house of President 
Taylor, the present chief, is that to which we were 
bound — the former residence of Joseph Smith, now 
occupied by various of his widows. After a trifling 
delay, we were introduced into the presence of an old 
lady with a mild and serious face, spare frame, and 
the sort of dignity which comes from the possession 



FROM THE WEST. 1 45 

of, and living up to, an idea. She had the high narrow- 
forehead of a visionary, was upright, and her black dress 
hung upon her with a certain homely grace. She 
received us at first quietly, and rather coldly. 

" You are from England," she said ; " you show some 
courage in coming among the Mormons, seeing the sort 
of people we are said to be." 

We replied something to the effect, that to believe 
nothing that we hear and only half that we see, would be 
cutting the sources of knowledge too short, but that we 
were come to Salt Lake City to take an impression for 
ourselves. Soon after commending us to the good 
offices of our hostess, our introducer rose to depart, 
saying that she had business in the office awaiting her. 
Having felt the way with a few questions, Sister Smith 
took from her neck a chain to which was attached a 
large ornamented gold watch, a relic, as she told us, most 
precious to her, it having been the property of the 
murdered prophet whose wife she had been. From this 
the conversation drifted naturally into subjects connected 
with Mormonism, and the trials its possessors had under- 
gone for their faith. She saw in these trials the seal of 
its truth ] and gradually finding that she was talking to 
willing listeners, the fire kindled, and the old priestess 
unfolded to us the inner life of her singular faith, ex- 
pounding, and at last I could not but feel almost 
exhorting, in the spirit of a Hebrew prophetess. The 
face that had been cold to us at first grew full of human 
love and pity ; the dim eyes that had looked upon the 
world for eighty years were tearful, her voice vibrating 

L 



146 FLYING LEAVES. 

with emotion. She was sorrowful, struggling with the 
thought that she possessed a treasure of living truth 
which she was unable to share with those who owned 
themselves in darkness, or with only that little light 
which is as "a lantern to the feet." I do not envy the 
condition of that soul that could have watched the 
earnest face of Sister Snow, and not have felt lifted to 
some meeting-place of sympathy far above prejudice and 
even knowledge, and in spite of the impediment of a 
repulsive creed. All that can be found in this singular 
communion as food for the higher life would seem to 
have been seized upon and assimilated by this earnest 
adherent, who was now giving testimony of it in a full 
tide of natural and simple eloquence. We were both 
of us deeply touched; and well we might be, for the 
situation had in it an element that was indeed pathetic. 
We, wanderers in a darkness, only not absolute in that 
it was felt ; she, nearing the end of her pilgrimage, and 
speaking to us from a height which she had reached by 
the aid of what in our eyes was a false light. Alas, for us 
poor striving children of men ! Who shall help us if in 
our wanderings we have no pity for each other ? 

The work in which we had interrupted this sister was 
one well suited to her tender and idealistic nature. 
Formerly at the head of many practical movements for 
the advancement of the women of her people, and still 
the president of the Women's Aid Society, whose branches 
extend wherever Mormonism is known, her present 
occupation is chiefly with the dead; obtaining and 
tabulating registers of the ancestors of prominent 



FROM THE WEST. 1 47 

Mormons, with the view of incorporating them through 
prayer, and by vicarious baptism, into the Church. She 
had long since completed this work for the Puritan stock 
from which she herself is derived, and was now engaged 
on behalf of other families more occupied with worldly 
cares, or less zealous for souls than herself. 

All that is distinctive in the Mormon cult rests upon 
the authority of Joseph Smith. Doubt the good faith of 
the Prophet, or the reality of his mission, and the whole 
edifice crumbles to the ground. He it was who received 
from the Angel Moroni, instructions where to find the 
plates inscribed in the Adamic tongue, together with the 
book of Mormon, falsely called by the Gentiles, the 
Mormon Bible. He it was who, all unlearned as he was, 
a youth yet in his teens, translated this record of the 
ancient dwellers in the American continent ; and he it 
was also, who some years later, accepted from an angel 
with a drawn sword, and under threat of destruction on 
refusal, the command to practice and to diffuse the doc- 
trine of polygamy. This last forms at once the strength, 
and the great stumbling-block of the system; the strength 
in that the great violence done to natural feeling, exalts 
the imaginations of women with the idea that they are 
building up their Church with sacrifice ; no less than the 
objective fact, that the Mormon population is through 
this system, at this time, receiving a great numerical 
increase ; and the stumbling-block and stone of offence 
in that it must bring this people sooner or later into 
bloody collision with the American Government, and is 
in itself a retrograde movement, one which, under ordinary 



148 FLYING LEAVES. 

conditions could but be subversive of the interests of the 
race in its actual stage of development. The basic idea 
of its present necessity in the Mormon system is, that 
myriads of souls destined to eternal felicity, are waiting 
for the tabernacles of flesh in which to accomplish their 
probation for higher spheres ; and that the need for pro- 
viding such is now imminent, the coming of Christ 
being at hand. Hence the call to "gather," to leave 
father, mother, husband and wife, if need be, and take 
part and lot with the " saints " in this New Jerusalem 
which possesses some converts with a fever of unrest, 
akin to that experienced by migratory birds. One prac- 
tical benefit, and one alone from the point of view which 
these people call Gentile, is to be discerned in their dis- 
pensation of the plurality of wives. That one touches 
the most festering sore of our modern civilizations. 
Where polygamy exists — an ordered institution such as 
it is seen at Salt Lake — there is little or no prostitution. 
Some few years since, when the Gentile population was 
smaller, the horrible evil was unknown. Polygamy may, 
therefore, further be looked upon as a sacrifice made by 
women for women ; by women who, in abdicating their 
natural rights, withhold from the deepest mire of pollution 
their frailer and more tempted sisters. But what then, 
in this self-surrender, becomes of that growth of self- 
restraint which it is to be hoped the ages are gradually 
maturing in men ? 

Before we took our leave of Sister Eliza Snow, she 
presented me with two volumes out of the nine published 
ones of her poems. Her writings, like her other minis- 



FROM THE V/EST. 1 49 

trations, are much prized in Salt Lake, and I have no 
doubt partake of that fervour of spirit shown in her con- 
versation ; but I have been too busy with " The Women 
of Mormondom," by Edward W. TulHdge, to make 
acquaintance with them at present. 

On Tuesday (the 21st), we visited the great Taber- 
nacle, and walked round the Temple which is in course 
of erection. It is the most important building yet raised 
for the Mormon worship, and although somewhat hard 
and monotonous in effect, looks as if intended to stand for 
ages. It is faced throughout, to the depth of nine inches, 
with slabs of a beautiful granite. 

The acoustic properties of the tabernacle are remark- 
able ; a voice, even a whisper in the auditory, being heard 
in the remotest part ; a pin dropped upon a hat was distin- 
guishable at a distance of many yards. The Tabernacle 
is a plain oval chamber of vast size ; having a roof 
entirely unsupported, built on the principle of the arch. 
This roof is still festooned with the wreaths made to 
decorate the great festival held at its opening. 

Taking a drive in the afternoon in a tram-car to 
Liberty Park, we were sitting on its arrival at that des- 
tination, waiting for its return, when the driver followed 
his little boy into the vehicle, also to abide the time. A 
few words on the intelligent interest manifested by the 
little five-year-old fellow in the "machine," drew forth 
from the father a statement of the many means of educa- 
tion existing for persons of all ages in Salt Lake City. 
He told us that small children like this had their primary 
associations, presided over by a president who would 



150 FLYING LEAVES. 

perhaps be fifteen years old or a little upwards. These 
juvenile meetings for mutual improvement are as strictly 
ordered as are those of the ages in advance of them. 
Young men and young women have each similar 
assemblies, and there are occasions (I conclude of a 
display of learning) when the ladies invite the gentlemen, 
and vice versa. The man, judging from his speech, was 
a native of Scotland. He had a strong, determined face, 
the expression of which grew very bitter in speaking of 
the persecution to which his co-religionists had been 

subject. E put in a word for the laws of the land, 

which could not suffer violation with impunity. The 
Mormon retorted that his people were peaceable, and 
oifended no law, the United States Charter allowing to 
all its citizens freedom to worship God in their own 
way. We ventured to suggest that there were necessary 
limits to such freedom j that no government, for instance, 
could allow of practices such as pertained to the religion 
of the Thugs. The man replied that the persecution his 
people underwent for their peculiar institution of polygamy 
was founded on a pretence ; that their persecutors were 
polygamists themselves, with this only difference, that 
they were hypocrites and heartless to boot. They en- 
trapped, ruined, and had children by various women, 
and then disowned and deserted them. We said that if 
men were evil, we should not make them better by 
bringing down the law to their level. The Mormon 
denied the evil, and quoted the example of Abraham. 
I confronted Abraham with St. Paul and other later 
lights, but hastened to shift the discussion from the 



FROM THE WEST. I51 

polemical ground altogether too wide to be traversed in 
such time as we could give to it, and suggested that a 
concession of this particular privilege of their creed to 
the enactments of the government which gave them pro- 
tection, would be worldly wise if it were nothing more. 
The dark face grew darker in the handling of this 
perilous subject, and the jaw, and all about the bitter 
lips, blue-black where the beard had been shaven, 
more determined. 

" There was no talk," he said, " among our people of 
polygamy when the persecution began ; they just hated 
us as the wicked hate the righteous, when and wherever 
they may find them. The revelation of the law of 
celestial marriage was not made known to the faithful 
till shortly before they were driven from Nauvau, nor to 
the Gentiles till long after the Mormons were settled in 
Zion. Joseph Smith had practised it ; he had had to do 
so, because his time on earth was short. They slew 
him; he was a martyr to the faith." The man jerked 
out the sentences, and hurled them wrathfuUy at the two 
inquiring " Gentiles." 

We could not but feel that in this car-driver, we got a 
glimpse of what Mormonism might be in its more mili- 
tant aspect. If the marriage covenant of ancient Israel 
was welcome to him, the " sword of the Lord and of 
Gideon " would have been no less so. We were not 
sorry when he took his little son by the hand, mounted 
with him to the box, and drove us (his only passengers 
in this outskirt) back by the way we had come. 

Our acquaintance lying not at all among Mormons or 



152 FLYING LEAVES. 

their connections, we had no introductions to people in 
Utah, with the exception of the one we had dehvered to 
Mr. Goodwin. We were told, however, that a visit to 
President Taylor would not be ill received. E — had 
accordingly called at his office, had seen the potentate, 
and the following day had been appointed for us both to 
call on him at his house. 



( 153 ) 



LEAF VII. 

IN the meanwhile I had a visit from a lady, a Mrs. 
Hannah King, who presented herself as a country- 
woman. I had already heard of her from Mrs. Wells 
and seen something of her in certain numbers of the 
Wojjian's Exponent, and in a little paper-covered 
book; her eager temperament being very apt as it 
seemed to overflow in verse. She was a kindly, pleasant- 
looking, middle-aged woman, with soft brown curls and 
expressive eyes, and few marks upon her of the struggles 
and sorrows, which, judging from what she related to me 
of the story of her life, she must have passed through. 
As it is a somewhat typical experience among the 
" saints," and as she made no secret of it, I will give it 
in brief. 

Mrs. Hannah King, then, or Mrs. King as she would 
have been in those early days, was the wife of what is 
called a gentleman farmer — a man farming his own land, 
in one of our English counties. She and her husband 
were both members of the Established Church ; and she 
described their condition as one of great content and 
material prosperity. A quiet little work-girl who had 
rendered her occasional services to this family for some 



154 FLYING LEAVES. 

years, one day desired as a favour that Mrs. King would 
grant her a few moments of speech in private. The 
request meeting with ready acquiescence, the girl after a 
little exordium in which she spoke of the gratitude for 
kindness, and some strong inward prompting which 
moved her to it, made the, to Mrs. King, startling con- 
fession that two years before she had been baptised into 
the Mormon Church. 

Sorrow for the girl, mingled with something of curiosity, 
caused Mrs. King to inquire into the particular tenets of 
the strange religion she had only heard vaguely denoun- 
ced. The young sewing-girl seems to have defended the 
cause of Mormonism with much ability. She was all 
alive with the glow and excitement which a flood of new 
ideas produces on minds of a vaguely imaginative order 
which education has left sterile. The brotherly love and 
concord of the "saints;" the spirit of prophecy still active 
among them ; the healing of the sick and other miracles 
of common occurrence, — these and other claims of the 
Mormon Church received into the believing heart of this 
convert, were urged by her with a fervour of conviction 
which seems to have been infectious. One common 
feature, a passionate religiosity, is naturally seen to distin- 
guish the more earnest female disciples of a creed so cruel 
to the sex as this of the Latter-day Saints. Mrs. Hannah 
King found or fancied in hearing " how these Christian 
loved one another," that she had long suffered uncon- 
sciously from the coldness of her own communion. She 
took the Mormon books which the girl offered for her 
perusal, and dismissed her, with a dim, uncomfortable 



FROM THE WEST. 1 55 

consciousness that some stone of offence had been rolled 
into her life. Alone with the Mormon books, she feared 
to open them ; she looked on them as the messengers of 
an undesirable fate ; but a spark had been kindled, and 
the thought of them burned within her. In this way she 
hovered about them for some time, when one day she 
locked herself in her room, laid the several small 
volumes on her bed, and knelt beside them in earnest 
prayer. She rose and read ; read and read again ; begged 
more books of the little sempstress, and underwent a 
period of violent struggle, in which the thought of the 
loss of " position " consequent on putting in her lot with 
persons drawn chiefly from the lowest grade, seems more 
than all else to have been the drag upon her progress in 
the new faith. Since the low estate of the " saints " was 
held to be a mark of their calling, this cause of repulsion 
was the more readily combated as a temptation of the 
evil one ; and a young Mormon priest, one of those who 
without " scrip or staff" are fighting the battle of Zion in 
most of the low places of the earth, coming upon the 
scene at this time, Mrs. Hannah King wholly surrendered, 
and a day was fixed for her to be baptized into the 
Mormon Church. A young daughter of fifteen, whom 
the mother described as lovely, replete with all graces of 
mind and person, and who evidently shared that mother's 
impressionable temperament, had not been an unobser- 
vant witness of the drama that had been enacting. The 
locked door, and the silent preoccupation of her mother 
had attracted the girl's attention, and she had come upon 
the books in their secret repository. She, too, had satisfied 



156 FLYING LEAVES. 

her curiosity and her young thirst for the new and strange 
at the same source, and came with her entreaties to her 
astonished parent, to be suffered to partake with her in 
the ceremony of baptism. It was a reUef to hear that 
Mrs. King had strongly set her face against the demand, 
and not too great a surprise to find that with the interven- 
tion of the Mormon priest, her objections were in the 
end overruled. There were reasons, as will readily be 
believed with a woman who possessed a " Gentile " 
husband, that the rite should be performed with utmost 
secrecy, but no very long time elapsed before place and 
occasion were found, and the deed accomplished. 

It was in a quiet reach of the river Cam, in the dead 
of a night only lighted by stars, that Mrs. King and her 
young daughter, dressed in long white robes and caps 
as for confirmation, went down together into the 
waters of baptism. I seemed to see the sHm figure 
of the little neophite offering herself up in a sacrifice the 
nature of which she could so little understand, and I 
shuddered at a picture which the mother with tearful eyes 
described as the fairest she had ever beheld. I under- 
stood too well how acceptable such sacrifice must be to 
the villainous elders who have the pick of these tender 
offerings. A girl still younger was the next to catch fire ; 
and soon there came upon the trio and the apostolic 
serving girl that impulse to " gather " to Zion, that fever 
to be up and away to the promised land, to which I have 
above alluded. 

The position of the husband and father in all this, was 
a puzzle, only to be solved on the supposition that 



FROM THE WEST. 



157 



natural affection was the one note of an otherwise silent 
nature, and that he let everything go for the sake of 
retaining his hold on his family, who, possessed as they 
were, would have left him and " gathered " at any cost. 
Gentile and unredeemable as he was, he sold his prosper- 
ous farm, and with the work-girl, and one or more others 
whom they helped out, started with his wife and children 
for Salt Lake City. The fair little neophite died, almost 
within sight of her hope ; for the second daughter, now 
a little over sixteen, a less enviable fate was in store — 
she was married, soon after her arrival, and married, as 
her mother announced with curious satisfaction, " into 
polygamy." 

Poor Mr. King, who wanted nothing in Zion but a 
certain acreage of cultivatable land in honest exchange for 
money, had a district awarded him which the brethren 
must have known, if he did not, was incapable of bearing 
anything but sage-brush. The alkali was so abundant in 
this soil, that its surface was as "a leper, white as snow." 
He seems to have accepted this final deception with the 
quietude of one whose feelings have been deadened with 
many blows. If their combined effect had anything to do 
with his death, their action was slow, as his struggle with 
this refractory soil lasted for ten years. I wondered 
again within myself, when Mrs. King came to the point 
of burying him, what manner of man this was, who, 
unallured by either of the gross paradises, earthly or 
heavenly, of the "saints," had exchanged his fruitful 
English farm for this wilderness, and had never uttered 
a complaint. If I admired his stoHd reserve, I was 



158 FLYING LEAVES. 

amazed at his wife's capacity of faith in her fellow-men . 
Hard fight as they had had together, and alone, in 
staightened circumstances as she now lived, no doubt of 
the sharp practice of which they had evidently been the 
victims, seemed ever to have darkened her mind ; while 
her recollections of Brigham Young, who must have been 
the prime agent in their misfortunes, were of the most 
animatedly delightful description. Eager to rush into 
print, and ready to come forward in many ways as she 
had shown herself, she did not seem to suffer under that 
degradation which the system inflicts upon the sex, but 
spoke of the social life of Salt Lake City as all that 
was most desirable, and the spiritual consolations of 
Mormonism as unlimited. Her last words in taking 
leave were to adjure me to speak well of it. " Be careful 
how you disturb or impede its action," she said ; " be 
assured that it is the Lord's truth ! " I would not 
promise always to respect it as such. Mrs. King's story, 
as it had fallen from her own believing lips, had 
impressed me disagreeably. She herself was happy 
and convinced ; a kindly and well-meaning dupe as it 
seemed to me; a good woman at heart I am sure. 
There are people who are capable of maintaining some 
sort of spiritual life on chaff. 



( 159 ) 



LEAF VIII. 

THE following morning at eleven we were due at 
President Taylor's, and we took our way under 
the cotton trees whose leaves hung like plates of gold 
in the brilliant October sunshine. The house of the 
chief is, as might be supposed, the handsomest in the 
city; although, looked upon as the abode of so many 
queens of Mormondom with their several courts of 
children, it is not a very large one. It is a stone edifice, 
and stands in its own garden opposite, on the other side 
of the street, to the Lion House in which we had visited 
Sister Eliza Snow. We were received by an elder, who 
was also I believe a secretary of the great man, and 
were by him ushered into what was evidently the chief 
reception room, a comfortable, substantially furnished, 
and rather gaily-coloured apartment, heated by pipes and 
a blazing coal fire, and into which aestheticism had 
evidently not found its way. The music-stool before an 
open cottage piano was now tenantless, but we had 
heard the instrument rather roughly hammered as we 
came in. 

The president did not keep us waiting. His age is, 
I believe, seventy-four ; a tallish, well-made man, still 



l6o FLYING LEAVES. 

Upright, but giving no promise in his gait and general 
aspect of the possession of the force needed in a position 
of such arbitrary authority. If President Taylor has 
ever possessed this, I imagine he possesses it no longer. 
He carries his head well. His abundant, accurately 
parted, and very white hair is smoothly combed ; his brow 
steep and narrow ; his eyes mild but scarcely kind ; his 
nose well formed : altogether a handsome man, who 
might be a comfortable English gentleman — a country 
squire, only that for that he is too well dressed, — a well- 
tailored and well-groomed old gentleman, with broad- 
cloth and linen of the finest. In describing his face 
I have paused at the mouth, which, with the sensitive 
muscles moving it, is the tell-tale of the human counten- 
ance. Many lies are exacted of the president's lips in 
the cause of the Church, and the subjugated muscles 
may have lost the power of spontaneous play ; the thin 
lips are widened into an habitual smile, which, hke the 
mild eyes, has no warmth in it. He received us very 
politely, but I think that, shut within his wall of moun- 
tains, he had lost the sense of relation with the world 
without. He was soon reinforced by one of his numerous 
daughters, a rather pretty girl, whose morning exercise 
on the piano we found we had interrupted, and after that 
by a young lady whom she introduced as her cousin, 
and a little later by the president's sister, the mother 
of the latter. But before this the door had been quietly 
opened, and the upright, slender ascetic figure of Sister 
Eliza Snow had appeared, black-robed as we had seen her, 
but wearing her bonnet and mantle. She had been 



FROM THE WEST. l6l 

specially invited to assist at our reception, and I imagine 
is generally brought to the fore when Gentile visitors are 
to be impressed by the *' sweetness and light " p'ossible 
to the women of Mormondom. Indeed, this charming 
old lady, wearing her years with so grave a grace, 
mellowed but not humbled by time, burning with an 
unquenchable zeal for her strange faith, might have been 
proudly shown as the witness of any creed. I was 
happy to meet her again after the reluctant parting of 
the previous interview, and pleased when she renewed 
her exposition of the Mormon faith as sublimated by 
her own idealistic temperament, and kept to a certain 
extent sane by a life of far-reaching benevolent activity. 
Even, with her, polygamy was the very core of the creed, 
though, in urging its necessity, she dwelt not at all upon 
the personal exaltation looked for in other spheres by 
men and women through its practice, that " other- world- 
liness" which is its strongest argument with natures of 
a lower but not the lowest type. A fanatical believer in 
the revelations of the " Prophet," her one thought was 
of the urgent souls who were pressing for incarnation 
on this earth as a point of departure for the higher glory 
of the heavens. These Mormons seem all to make to 
themselves an exaggerated picture of the wickedness, in 
which the outer world is lying; and certainly there is 
much in what is called the " advanced civilization " of the 
United States — the check that is put upon population, 
the lack of domesticity and laxity of manners generally — 
to furnish them with data for their opinions.* 

* The whole of these " Flying Leaves " were written before (at 

M 



1 62 FLYING LEAVES. 

President Taylor, having been talking with E on 

the hearthrug, now seated himself in an armchair near 
the fire, and his conversation took a wider range. He 
spoke of the Prophet Joseph — a favourite theme, as in 
the belief or non-belief of this man's announcements 
Mormonism either stands or falls to pieces. He told 
us of the simplicity and directness of his character ; of 
his remarkable gifts of healing the sick, of tongues, and 
of prophecy. He said he had been called an " ignorant 
man," but that the characterization was utterly false ; he 
had been an ignorant boy, as most boys are " ignorant," 
but that as a man he was instructed beyond the common, 
even in knowledge such as it is accounted by the world. 
He went on to speak of his visions, taking us in his 
colder guidance over the ground we had already passed 
in company of Mrs. Eliza Snow, whom it is difficult for 
me to think of as in any way connected with the sus- 
piciously gifted individual who was her husband. When 
the conversation, which was naturally rather one-sided, 
came to a pause, we had a little music, or more correctly 
a short performance on the piano on the part of each of 
the young ladies, which left us hoping that the societies 
for mutual improvement were stronger in the cultivation 
of science than of art. It did not appear that the want 

of skill was felt by any but ourselves, nor when E 

gave the company a song or two of Mozart's, were they 
able, I think, to recognize it as something better ; though 
possibly in this I may be mistaken. Of pictures, so far as 

the close of July last) that thunder-clap of awful revelation broke 
over our summer world in England. 



FROM THE WEST. 1 63 

we could see or hear, there were none, or worse than none, 
in Utah ; of verse there was a crop as abundant and 
valueless as the sage-brush of the surrounding desert. 
Culture, as it exists elsewhere, has not yet penetrated 
into this hitherto secure retreat at the further foot of the 
Wahsatch mountains. The one thing in Utah which 
represents it is the great organ of the Tabernacle, almost 
the largest made in America ; and that, built, as we were 
duly informed, by a Mormon, we were invited by the 
chief to hear. We had looked on it from the outside 
when we had seen the Tabernacle ; but hearing it, as we 
soon did, pealing through the vast empty space at the 
command of one who possessed the gift of all gifts the 
most mysterious and incommunicable, the effect was 
sudden, and almost overpowering. We had heard so 
much in the last few days of the persecutions and afflictions 
of the *' saints," of their long wanderings in the desert^ 
and the martyrdom of their prophet, that to an imagina- 
tion a little stirred by surrounding local influences, this 
great organ voice seemed to be wailing as with all the 
tribulation and sorrow of this hunted community. The 
Mormon professor, a Welshman, named Thomas, who 
sent hi& spirit trembling through the pipes, was a born 
vafes, well able to communicate with intention such 
a message of woe to any who might be prepared to 
receive it. 

In the evening we found our way with some difiiculty 
through the rather dark and, in places, ill-paved streets, 
to the house of that one of the six Mrs. Daniel Wells' 
who is. the editress of. the Woman^s Ex^onent^—2^- 



164 FLYING LEAVES. 

small house, almost in the suburbs, standing back a 
little from the street, with the usual garden behind. 
Mrs. Wells opened the door herself; she thought we 
were late, and appeared to be on the look-out for us, 
fearing we had lost our way. The little circle to which 
we were introduced in this Mormon home, consisted of 
our old friend Mrs. Eliza Snow — self-invited when she 
heard that we were coming — and a Dr. Roumania Pratt, 
besides our hostess and a young unmarried daughter, 
a pretty dark-eyed girl, and one from whom, as a daughter 
of Daniel and Mrs. Editress Wells, and the possessor of 
character and energy on her own account, much seems 
to be expected in the future. A little later on, a married 
daughter and her husband, the young man we had seen 
at Mrs. Wells' office, were added to the group. This 
last was a son of Q. Cannon, the most important figure 
now in Mormondom, and the one on whom its immediate 
destinies, so far as they may be shaped from within, will 
depend. The young couple belonged, thus far, wholly to 
each other ; no second woman had come between them 
as a wedge to split asunder their joint Hves, the young 
husband not having yet seen it his duty to lay more than 
the foundation stone of his "kingdom." It was not 
pleasant to look upon their happy faces, and think of 
the shoals ahead. 

A clear open fire was glowing upon the hearth, and 
the small room, with its simple furniture and decorations, 
its piano, and its guitar, had a singular look of comfort. 
Dr. Roumania Pratt is a lady who has taken a medical 
degree, and is in good practice in the city. The con- 



FROM THE WEST. 1 65 

versation turned chiefly upon subjects of local interest: 
Mormonism and its seemingly unlimited hopes. It was 
curious to contrast the apparent peace and good cheer 
of this little assembly, with the rumours of coming 
struggle which reached us from without. 

Our days were passed in as much communion with the 
Mormon people as we were able to establish, but the 
evenings had never failed to bring to our hotel Mr. 
Goodwin, the gentleman on whom we had called on our 
first arrival, who, anxious to correct the impressions we 
, might have derived from native sources, fulminated 
against the Mormons in eloquent periods, which we 
sometimes recognized in the Salt Lake Tribune the 
succeeding day. From him we knew that even at this 
moment a case was in preparation in which one Rudger 
Clausen would be indicted for bigamy, and while such 
charges are exceedingly difficult to bring home to this 
people, no Gentile being suffered to witness the ceremony 
of marriage, it was believed that in this instance con- 
viction was certain. It was understood on all hands 
that this indictment was only one of a series which was 
to follow, it being intended that such pressure should be 
put upon the women, as should force them to disclose 
the fact of the illegal rite in which they had borne part. 
Up to this time their short detentions for contempt of 
Court had been as playing at persecution, but for the 
future their refusal to answer the questions of counsel 
would be visited with long imprisonment. All this we 
knew, and felt that the quiet confidence which seemed 
to reign around us, was not without some secret counter- 



1 66 FLYING LEAVES. 

check. We saw signs of discretion on the part of 
these Mormons in their courteous dealings with us. 
Wives, at the many-wived President's, had been con- 
spicuous by their absence. We had seen no Mormon 
couples together with the exception of young Cannon 
and his, up to this present, sole wife. The husband of 
whom Mrs. Wells owned a sixth, was not here ; neither 
was the handsome daughter who had been a "plural 
wife " from the first This, and a word which dropped 
from young Cannon, was all the evidence that the 

"saints" were alive to what was going on. E 

had expressed his satisfaction that he had never been 
summoned to serve on a jury. " You should avoid Salt 
Lake City, then," said young Cannon ; " you would 
hardly be here another week without their serving you 
a notice." A sort of conscious silence followed this 
remark, which, nevertheless, seemed to vibrate through 
the room, as when an importunate string is deadened 
perforce. 

Miss Wells sung a nigger melody, accompanying 
herself on the guitar ; her voice was sweet, and her 
rendering, not without feeling, but her pronunciation 
was — what was it? Salt Lake, I presume; some very 
strong flavour certainly, and it may be supposed, racy of 
the soil. But I do not like to criticize severely a 
performance capable of giving pleasure to those whose 
ears were not Hke ours, unaccustomed to the local 
musical conventions. All of the several persons we 
met were perfectly well mannered, and full of the most 
cordial kindness. The impression that Sister Snow made 



FROM THE WEST. 167 

upon US was deepened at every interview ; I believe that, 
however eccentric her opinions, she had a selfless 
purity of motive which surrounded her as a luminous 
atmosphere. Mrs. Wells appeared a tender mother, and 
in this stage of her existence, a happily detached wife, 
content in the free exercise of her own activity. Dr. 
Roumania was a sensible looking woman, who also had 
found a sphere of action to her mind. We were sorry to 
leave the pleasant light and warmth, and the fellowship 
of kindly hearts, and however our views of the evil and 
corruption at the core of Mormonism remained un- 
changed, we sincerely regretted that the little circle 
within the radius of that friendly hearth would possibly 
be called on to share in the troubles to come. But we 
had to go. Dr. Pratt pressed us to take seats in the 
open buggy which awaited her at the door, but I feared 
the keen night air. The hardy old prophetess felt 
herself better able to repel its effects, and stood lightly 
shawled, ready to depart with the medical lady, while 
we took of each other a lingering farewell. I see the 
tall, slim, sable-robed figure, with the human love and 
longing in the dim eyes, see it as I saw it then, and shall 
never see it again ; though the heart of the aged priestess 
which was of those that " hope all things," seemed to tell 
her we should meet again. One lesson I had learnt 
from her, and might perhaps have learnt, if less distinctly, 
from her companions— that there is something in every 
honestly inspired human heart better than its opinions, 
whatever they may be. 



1 68 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF IX. 

AS we walked home in the crisp moonlight, we were 
troubled with many thoughts to which the 
persons we had seen, and the strange creed we had 
been examining, gave rise. The sum of our reflections 
led to the conclusion that this pseudo revelation of 
Joseph Smith was a grave menace to the American 
government, already burthened with other difficulties 
which must press for solution before long. From what 
we had seen of the spirit of its professors, and from 
what we had heard of Mr. Goodwin (thoroughly well- 
informed on all matters of fact, although detesting this 
troublesome sect too heartily to do them justice even 
where it was due), the Mormons were steadily, even 
rapidly on the increase in Utah, and were already 
overflowing into Idaho, Nevada, and the other neigh- 
bouring States. Before the opportunity for inquiry that 
had been afforded us on the spot, we had regarded Mor- 
monism as a decaying superstition ; one that had done the 
world some service in carrying human life and industry 
into desert places which else had remained barren for 
unknown years, but which, its forced task performed, 
was succumbing to normal influences. It seems, how- 



FROM THE WEST. 1 69 

ever, that there are elements in human nature good and 
evil, on which the doctrines enforced by it are able to 
take hold. On the one side there is a height of sacrifice 
— always purifying to the spirits that can rise to it — on 
the other there is the authorized indulgence of a 
licentiousness which is everywhere else illicit, and a 
promised paradise of pride and self-seeking for this 
world and a world to come. The former is the drop 
which saves the whole unhealthy mass from falling to 
pieces of its own corruption ; the latter makes its 
extension possible among the classes, hungry, ignorant, 
and fanatical, from which its converts are chiefly drawn. 
Added to this, there would seem to be a strangely 
recuperative power in this soil, which re-inspires the 
weaklings of our older civilizations with the faculty at 
least of material progress. Much of hardship and 
poverty as many of the newly arrived in Utah may still 
suffer, it cannot be disputed that in Salt Lake City there 
is a general air of prosperity, and of a prosperity more 
evenly distributed than I at least can remember to have 
seen in any other city of its size. Nor would it be fair 
to take no acount of the fact, that its population has an 
air of general civility, of order and peaceableness, equal to 
its industry. Further, it cannot be denied that the women 
we met, apart from that elite with whom we had the good 
fortune to come into personal relation — the women 
encountered in the street and in the shops, were even 
singularly retiring and modest of aspect. I imagine that 
the discipline of pain, the mortification of the flesh and of 
the spirit, that even the least worthy of them must suffer, 



lyo FLYING LEAVES. 

is an education whose fruit, if bitter, is far from deadly. 
How bitter it must be to the vast majority incapable of 
willing sacrifice for any end, and to the probably smaller 
number unconvinced of the efficacy of this which is 
demanded of them, it is needless to point out. The 
unhappiness of famished affection experienced by the 
women of Mormondom, who, however unenlightened, are 
to some extent the children of their time, may be supposed 
to equal the growing and full-fed depravation of the men. 
Of the two, the case of the latter calls for the deepest 
commiseration ; but it is difficult to so accord it. There 
are probably earnest believers among the more fanatical 
and ignorant, but the gross practice of their cruel creed 
must infallibly calcine the heart, as it embrutes the 
senses and souL The Mormon man is at once a tyrant 
and a slave. It needs no experience to confirm the 
proposition ; from the facts of the life that moulds him, he 
can be no other. Not the Popedom itself is so absolute 
a despotism as that wielded by the chief apostle of this 
creed. He may, if it so pleases him, propound a new 
doctrine without the check of an oecumenical council. 
He can dissolve marriage without evidence of fitting 
cause, at the request of any one he so favours. He can 
separate husbands and wives for years when he sends 
forth the former on their propagandist missions, 
"without purse and without scrip" as the apostles of 
old. He is superior to any law which is acknowledged 
in Utah on other ground than that of fear, and his sole 
mandate can deal death. That this last-named privilege 
is rarely if ever now exercised could not be surprising 



FROM THE WEST. 171 

to any one who had talked with the bland and 
comfortable old gentleman now in authority, even if it 
were not in a high degree inexpedient, in the present 
position of affairs, to provoke the interference of the 
central government. As for the power that depends on 
the exchequer, the strings of the public purse are wholly 
in the hands of the chief and his co-workers. 

It will be seen from the above statement, that the 
Mormon though inhabiting a territory now in the close 
embrace of the great American confederacy, offers an 
absolutely resistant mass to the spirit of its constitution. 
Not only are its doctrines in direct opposition to the 
laws which govern it, its polity is also one which can 
never be acknowledged by the union. It is curious that 
in the heart of the American continent there should exist 
a community more office-ridden and enslaved, than is 
anywhere to be found in Europe proper. The new 
conditions under which it operates, tend to modify its 
worst effects ; but the fact is there, if restrained in its 
manifestation. 

It is hard upon the American Government, averse 
even to the appearance of coercion, to be put into the 
position of fighting what claim to be ideas, with lead and 
iron. And would such an onslaught be finally suc- 
cessful ? 

" A sword may be of finest proof 
And still will come no nigher, 
To cut the tangled web of sin 
Or doubt hell fire." 

These lines from the "Red Ladye" were quoted 



172 FLYING LEAVES. 

against myself by a young American lady in conversa- 
tion with whom I had been urging the necessity of 
stringent measures. 

Better than all such methods would it be, more 
effectual probably, and certainly less costly, to meet 
argument with argument, appeals to the emotions with 
counter-appeals, the propagand of the Mormons with that 
of Christian missionaries zealous for the purity of the 
faith which has given a new era to civilization. Could 
it be too much to expect of a great nation that has 
pardoned all its prisoners of war, and held out the hand 
of fellowship to its revolted citizens, that such means 
should at least be tried on a worthy scale before essaying 
with violence to quash the evil weed on the soil whereon 
it has thriven, and in treading it underfoot, and in 
scattering it abroad, to strengthen here a root, and drive 
forth there a seed, to deepen and spread the elements of 
trouble for coming years. 

That heart must entertain a faint belief in the reality 
of human progress, that could feel the issue of such a 
contest, fairly undertaken, to be doubtful. The word of 
their prophet, impostor or dreamer, or amalgam of the 
two, it matters not which, is a weak buttress on which to 
prop up so tottering an edifice ; and they have no other. 
The Old Testament examples which they cite in defence 
of polygamy, would prove too much even for Mormonism 
itself if taken seriously and fairly. Abraham is recorded 
to have had but one wife, and the slave woman whom she 
gave to him to raise up children in her own house, and to 
her own honour, was a concubine. Of Isaac's share in 



FROM THE WEST. 1 73 

marriage, we hear only of Rebecca. The two wives of 
Jacob, jealous of the distinction of large families when 
children were accounted as riches, gave each a slave girl as 
concubine to her husband. The example of the Patriarchs, 
therefore, if foisted upon people living in a state of society 
so wholly different, would say more for concubinage than 
for marriage. When the Mormon shifts his ground from 
the Old Testament to the New, he adds blasphemy to 
simple folly. The marriage of Cana of Galilee he asserts 
to have been that of the Saviour Himself, and the three 
Marys with the other women who followed his teaching, 
to have been his wives. But to quit this ground upon 
which Mormonism is intolerable, be it remarked that 
polygamy has never existed and could never exist other 
than by brute force, in any community unless either 
recruited by women from without, or sustained by a 
practice more outrageous to manhood, than the co-part- 
nership in husbands is to womanhood. If, as it may 
reasonably be hoped, the eunuch must for ever remain 
unknown to the Western world, the ravenous demands 
made by individual men, can only be met so long as 
there are outer regions willing to minister to it. The 
average surplus of females in the adult population of 
civilized nations is, I beheve, as a hundred and five to a 
hundred — an excess manifestly insignificant in relation 
to this question. Polygamy could therefore only be 
maintained as a permanent institution, by injustice and 
barbarous cruelty to that half of the human race for 
whom its benefits are alone intended. 

I should hardly have felt it worth while to record these 



174 FLYING LEAVES. 

reflections, were it not^ that a thinker, the sum of whose 
work, while among us, has entitled all that proceeds from 
his pen to consideration, has in an essay pubUshed since 
his death, called attention to a plurality of wives as a 
possible remedy for the most piteous of our social evils. 
It is clear that if any mitigation of this sore could be 
found as he suggests, the application of the mean could 
be only partial and temporary ; it would be also very 
like a shifting of the burthen from the weakest and 
most worthless of one sex to the strongest and ablest of 
the other, and I apprehend that at the best the loss in 
this must be more than the gain. It would be difficult 
to make a woman understand that a man with twenty 
wives, albeit he supported them all from his own purse, 
was anything less loathly than a prostitute. 

I cannot but doubt if, had he lived to revise his 
work, James Hinton would have given the sanction of 
his name to even so much as a hint of a cure to be 
found in polygamy for the cancer of modern society. To 
make head against disease by lowering the tone of the 
whole system, is a method as faithless as cowardly. 

In the long history of the travail of the human spirit 
from its possibly brute beginnings, one spark of heavenly 
fire is seen to have been slowly evolving itself. That 
spark is love as apart from lust. There is no danger 
that this treasure will ever be lost to woman ; of her, 
kind nature has taken charge. The birthplace of love is 
the mother's heart ; and her nurselings will continue to 
be her teachers. But it would surely be a calamity to 
the sex that has been the slowest. to learn, to have the 



FROM THE WEST. 1 75 

result of its toils obliterated at a moment seemingly of 
more fruitful promise. With a man whose ideal of 
conduct is the sharing of himself equally between a 
number of women, the sentiment he owns towards any 
one of them can have little that is distinctively human. 
Tenderness in any efficient quantity would bring torture 
into the life of a being whose province it was to foist 
fresh favourites upon the old, and thereby rack the souls 
of the women who loved him. 

Even allowing that the love of man for woman could 
often under such circumstances be worthy of the name, 
what strength of parental affection must be assumed 
before it could be admitted that a father's love could 
suffice to unlimited paternity. Even with only three or 
four wives (a small allowance for a Mormon apostle), 
these women dwelling in separate houses, as is for obvious 
reasons usually the case, the children must grow up in 
much separation from the father, a separation which, as 
the mother grows old, and becomes less and less the 
object of his attention, is ever on the increase. Here 
and there doubtless some special claim, some gift or 
grace on the part of the child) will attract to it the 
father's favour ; but what, in such a condition of things, 
becomes of those lessons of patience with the dull and 
ailing, and of equal justice for all which, it is the pro- 
vince of the home to teach ? For the polygamic man it 
seems to me there exists no power on earth strong 
enough to wrest him from the grasp of an all-devouring 
selfishness. 

It is to be regretted that the Mormons have it in their 



176 FLYING LEAVES. 

power to point to a practice of rare occurrence among 
ourselves, and screened in utmost secrecy, but which has 
on the other side of the Atlantic obtained a name 
whereby it is publicly recognized, and not it may be 
feared too universally condemned. If the public prints 
of the States, and the openly expressed belief of well- 
informed persons are to be trusted, foeticide obtains 
throughout all classes of the Union, in a measure highly 
subversive of the interests of a growing nation, if for no 
other reason than that the accretions from without can 
hardly be expected to be of such quality as those which 
might legitimately be looked for from within. The 
Mormon people pointing in triumph to their overflowing 
nurseries, denounces the monogamic system which it 
charges with these barren results. In effect they are 
doubtless to be looked for elsewhere ; but that is for the 
present beside the mark. 

There can surely be no heart that would not hail the 
hope of any mitigation of the most festering ulcer of our 
overgrown cities- — the shame of which is shared by every 
woman however placed, from the queen upon her throne 
to the sempstress who is sewing, as with one thread, a 
"shirt and a shroud;" many a thoughtful mind must 
also be exercised with that problem of the future, and 
in many places of the present : that glut of population 
which is already the plethora of industrial centres, and 
which threatens in a time not quite vaguely distant, to 
over-burthen all the green and pleasant places of the 
earth. These are questions whose pressure varies 
according to locality ; but each has to be faced on its 



FROM THE WEST. 177 

own ground. Polygamy claims, as has been shown, to 
offer a solution for the first ; but it is one which the 
healthy current of progressive life is bound to reject ; 
with the second of course it could deal only inversely ; 
and that in such outlying portions of the earth as Utah 
would not at present be felt as a material disadvantage. 

It is on very different lines from the above, that a true 
philosophy, as it seems to me, must look for help in the 
present and the future. 

The opening of new fields of labour to struggling, 
often starving women, must have done much that cannot 
well be computed, towards the check of female degra- 
dation, and may be expected to do still more. Educa- 
tion in its recent extension, may be looked to also as an 
ally to the good cause. The supply of legitimate forms 
of amusement as counter-excitements to the gin-shop 
and the music-halls, is a measure which, taking into 
sympathetic account the demands of our common nature, 
cannot be wholly without effect. There are many lines 
on which effort would not be thrown away, and it is the 
privilege as it is the duty of thoughtful persons, to help 
by word or deed in the struggle against all-devouring evil ; 
but when all is said that can be said, all done that can 
be done, it is mainly by the help of the unseen power 
that worketh for righteousness that the final redemption 
will be accomplished.* 

* The Bill for some more adequate protection for helpless girl- 
hood, which is, at this moment of going to press, being brought before 
Parliament, had not come within the writer's knowledge when these 
thoughts were set down, nor had she at that time any notion of the 
dire need of it. The public revelations which have secured 

N 



178 FLYING LEAVES. 

In regard to the second question, it is to the operation 
of the laws which are universally seen to restrict the 
higher forms of animal life, that our gaze must be directed 
in contemplating the more distant future. It has been 
lucidly shown by Mr. Fiske, in his admirable pages on 
"The Destiny of Man," that the formative energy 
present in evolution, having built up the kingly struc- 
ture of the human body, has paused on that finished 
course, and turning, commenced operations of a more 
recondite nature within. From that moment the work 
of progress was lifted to a higher plane ; it was the 
furnishing and equipment of the temple which it had 
been the toil of the ages to uprear, that now became 
the regard of nature. The brain with its ever-increasing 
convolutions was to give to man the empire over the 
physical universe, and last and highest triumph, the 
sovereignty of all the passions of his own derived 
nature, and their orderly exercise in the service of the 
higher life of the soul. In the path of this latest 
development an agent may be confidently expected 
whose operation will be felt equally on both sides of 
these seemingly divergent questions. If an end shall 
ever come to the lowest debasement of womanhood, it 
will arrive on lines vastly different from those of a 
licenced profligacy ; if the time should be one day reached 
when it becomes not only a selfish policy, but a duty to 

attention to the Bill, are a fearful price for a nation to have had to 
pay ; but where such danger on the one hand and devilish wicked- 
ness on the other exist, no price is too costly for the end in view, 
which is to get under the control of law those "criminal classes " 
whose place is not at the base, but at the apex of our social system. 



FROM THE WEST. 1 79 

regulate fecundity, we may freely hope that such duty 
will be accomplished by other than the heart-hardening 
means of the suppression of life which has already 
started on its course. 

Self-government, that sovereignty of the reason and 
the nobler affections which the gradually lowered claims 
of the brute within the man render practically possible, 
is the true goal of human endeavour. In reviewing the 
way that has been made in the past, and the promises 
that are beckoning us onward, let us accept of no ignoble 
compromises. The progress of society without ideals, 
must be vacillating and uncertain. Let us hold on in 
our darkness to the highest truth of which we have ever 
had a vision. We may fail to translate it adequately 
into life or art, but we shall only lose hope when we 
must already have lost faith, if we should endeavour to 
lower the majesty of the law within us at the cry of the 
beast that has been set under our foot. Once let us 
shift those borders, and the increasing clamours of the 
full-fed lower nature will demand perpetual concession. 
On that path lies the death of true manhood ; at its 
further end is the burial-place of human progress. 

Is there no missionary zeal in young America, that, 
allowing to Mormonism all the practical effectiveness, 
and ignorant good faith that can be urged in its favour, 
will nevertheless meet and vanquish it as the enemy of 
spiritual life, and the negation of the last and highest 
message which has hitherto been received by man ? 



l8o FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF X. 

WE leave Salt Lake City on a morning keen and 
bright, the train passing by, sometimes cleaving, 
the skirts of the Great Salt Lake; altogether a treeless 
and a desolate-looking region, in spite of the name of 
Paradise which is so freely bestowed upon it. A night 
upon the train has brought us to another day. 

On, and still on, we journey to the West. The dawn 
breaks clear ; not a cloud in the heavens, so far as they 
are visible to me. The sky has the look of a liquid, not 
wholly transparent — some imperfectly mingled, ethereal 
milk and wine. All below is prairie, with conically 
shaped hillocks, which might be the tents of some Brob- 
dingnagian savage tribe in the distance. As I watch, the 
dawn brightens into day. The dun, yellowish prairie is 
now bordered by vaster rugged hills, whose hollows are 
filled with the blue breath of the morning. Now no 
more hills, only a rolling ocean of prairie, which seems 
to have swallowed up the world ; but it has not ; it is, 
on the contrary, the tide of civilization which is for ever 
pressing upon and narrowing its borders. The buffalo, 
the elk, the wolf, and the bear are gone, and the wild 
Indian flits from place to place as a shadow that " never 



FROM THE WEST. l8l 

contlnuetli in one stay." He haunts the stormy summits 
and the inaccessible gorges of mountains, as least likely 
to provoke the jealousy of the white invader. So the 
scene changes as we pass. 

i.io a.m. — The chariots of commerce and of civiliza- 
tion roll on through mile upon mile of the waving yellow 
sea ; we with them. The mountains of the Sierra 
Nevada bound the prospect upon either side; but the 
great dun-coloured plain between is monotonous. Sage- 
brush, nothing now but sage-brush on either side, and in 
places not even that, only the salt lying thick, like a 
shower of snow, upon the alkaline land. We feel no 
weariness, because we have accepted the situation, count- 
ing the duration of our journey, not by hours, but by 
days. The sight of an Indian encampment is always 
a welcome excitement. Those of the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants who still frequent this region are of the Sioux tribe. 

We stop at a station where many of these Indians are 
congregated, and see three squaws sitting together on a 
comer of the platform. One of these women is old, 
and two are young. Of the latter, the one who has a 
pappoose on her lap, is not without a certain measure 
of beauty. A dark, rather flattened, disc-like face, with 
fine eyes, and a delicate line of nose, which, with the 
forehead, has something of the ancient Coptic type as 
seen in Egyptian monuments. The Indian lips are, 
however, without the grand curves distinctive of that 
race, though the teeth in the present case are beautifully 
white and even. The young squaw has clearly a turn 
for business. The travellers who have alighted from the 



1 82 FLYING LEAVES. 

train are all solicitous of a peep at the curtained baby ; 
but the screen remains immovable, and the face of the 
Indian woman, as she looks past it and us, still more so. 
Some one suggests the offering of a five-cent piece, a 
conception to which I, as the only woman, and naturally 
the most curious of the party, immediately rise. I hold 
the coin within range of her vision, and an almost imper- 
ceptible quiver of an eyelash tells me that she has seen 
it ; but the squaw knows full well that the sight she has 
to offer is worth more to the bidder than that, and 
her great eyes continue to look past us or through us, 
contemplating, as it might seem, the immensities. I pro- 
duce another five-cent piece, so doubling the bid; the 
eyelash winks as before, but no further sign is given. 

*' I reckon she won't do it for nickel. Offer her the 
same in silver," said a voice. Obedient to the prompting, 
I hold before her a ten-cent piece in the superior metal. 
The quick eye recognizes the difference in a flash, and 
tilting the pappoose in such a manner that no other shall 
share the spectacle with the one who has paid for it, she 
makes a sign to me to bend low, and quickly removes 
the curtain. A little reddish-brown face, with round, 
rather hanging cheeks, and eyes and mouth just opening 
in a cry, is exhibited to me for a moment, and the curtain 
of the peep-show is abruptly closed, when a low laugh 
tells the Indian woman's enjoyment of the discomfiture 
of the bystanders. 

Taking a turn along the platform, I met other Indians, 
men of the tribe, dressed in half-civilized fashion, with 
blankets for the most part furnished by the American 



FROM THE WEST. 1 83 

Government, vastly inferior articles to those which are 
native made. The latter are not only finer in colour 
and design, but their texture, though soft, is so resistant 
that they will hold water without leaking. I was told by 
one who seemed to know, that the marketable worth of 
the best of these blankets is £s^' ^^ ^^^ opposite 
direction from where the elder men were congregated, we 
came upon a young Indian maiden, doubtless a belk, 
her evidently careful toilet having been completed by two 
bars, one of red and one of yellow paint, extending from 
the inner corner of the eyes, passing over the full round 
cheeks, and diverging outward from the chin, which was 
garnished on its own account with sundry touches of the 
same pigments. These fantastic markings reminded one 
somewhat of the patterns seen on a butterfly's wing ; but 
they were sadly out of place on a human countenance ; 
and I felt sorry for the young creature whose face-adorn- 
ment, so garish and grotesque, seemed, with the prescient 
genius of infantile art, to mark out the course of coming 
tears. 

2 p.m. — Our long journey is again broken. We come 
to another stop, and regale our eyes, while stretching our 
limbs, with the sight of a few trees, the first we have 
seen since leaving Salt Lake. The companion of our 
platform walk is a man of taking exterior, kindly and 
agreeable, with the manners and mind of a perfect 
gentleman. He has been some time absent from his 
wife and only child, and the thin sweet Califomian air 
seems already to have let him into the joy of their 
presence. 



184 FLYING LEAVES. 

There are other travellers in our Pullman car, with 
whom we have more or less beguiled the way. One 
is a substantial, oppulent and thick-set Teuton, in whom 
the Yankee twang rests on a substratum of German 
idiom. He sets all our opinions right for us, and gives 
us information on the safe principle of beginning our 
education at the beginning. Another of our companions 
is a talkative and amusing youngish man, whose person 
seems to be the object of his tenderest care. His air is 
jaunty ; his broadcloth and linen of the finest ; his hair, 
under all the attending difficulties, is carefully arranged, 
and he is not innocent of perfumes. He is fond of 
airing his judgments upon men and matters, and they 
get rudely nipped by the authoritative German. For his 
own part he is very good-natured; and he finds more 
encouragement in his attempts to entertain his fellow- 
travellers, in the case of a very attractive, wonderfully 
fair, and richly attired young lady, whose devotion to 
an exterior in every way worthy of her regard, appears to 
equal his own. He has admitted — at our end of the 
car, where the confession would not be detrimental — the 
possession of a wife and an interesting young family. 
But I fancy the existence of such impedimenta would 
be passed over in the rush together of congenial spirits, 
which takes place in the warm region of the stove near 
the opposite door. Before we part we are favoured with 
the cards of the two gentlemen ; the German is the owner 
of a rich jeweller's shop ; the other is an artist in hair ; 
and, strange to say, the lady, whom we had taken for an 
actress, is of the same profession. The honest assurance 



FROM THE WEST. 1 85 

and self-respect with which the cards, setting forth these 
callings and the locality of their exercise, are delivered, is 
a pleasant comment on democratic institutions. 

We wonder a little how a toilet so elaborate as that of 
the lady — with skin so white, and lips so red, and hair so 
very golden — has been performed under these crucial 
circumstances. Assuredly the action has not been 
signalized with the same frankness as that which marked 
the more simple arrangements of another lady, who stood 
waiting her turn at the locked door of the dressing-room, 
wig in hand, for a quarter of an hour. 

On, and still on, through the rolling, which are also 
shining, hours. We sit as in a bath of pure air and light, 
very sustaining under the fatigues and the denials of the 
long land voyage. We are not impatient, for, as I have 
said, we have accepted the situation; if we do not 
"gather honey all the day," it is that there are few 
opening flowers in this desert A lonely ranche here 
and there ; a *' corral," or a few grazing herds, have at one 
portion of the way broken the monotony of the often 
featureless prairie. The sight of a little knot of mounted 
men variously accoutred, surrounding and hustling the 
cattle, singling out a beast, and galloping with their 
lassoes in swift pursuit, was an excitement. To my eye 
these wild-looking young barbarians had all the appear- 
ance of " younger sons," offshoots of our ancient civili- 
zation, returned as bad pennies into the mint of nature. 
These pioneers, living beyond the bounds of law, make 
a very effective code for themselves. A story which 
E heard somewhat later from an eyewitness, one 



1 86 FLYING LEAVES. 

of his guides in the Yosemite valley, may fitly be in- 
serted in this place, as bearing upon prairie manners. 

A youth, better fed than taught, who was a new-comer 
to the West, had not yet brought down his proud stomach 
to the level of the fare provided for cow-boys and others 
at the rude wayside station ; and being on one occasion 
served with a peculiarly villainous compound, his temper 
gave way, and he returned it upon the hands of the lady 
at the bar in a manner more summary than civil. Now, 
womanhood is sparsely represented in these parts, and 
the value of a commodity is apt to rise with its rarity. 
The " boys," who were lounging about the place, would 
by no means suffer this all but unique example to sustain 
any affront in their presence. They rallied to the rescue 
of the offended fair one, and with scrupulous politeness 
requested her to bring back the execrable mess ; which 
done, they assured their new pupil, as they closed round 
him with their revolvers, that it was not only good to eat, 
but " a thing to be desired to make him wise." So 
constrained, he swallowed the poison ; but when blandly 
asked if it was not "nice," unutterable loathing was about 
to throw up the word " beastl — ," when he was cut 
short by the demand of his educators for a fresh supply, 
which he was forced to eat to the last morsel under the 
same irrefutable conditions. Considering that death by 
gunshot wound is known to be painless, I think I would 
have accepted it rather than yield my body to the pos- 
sibly more cruel revenges of outraged nature. 

The hills close in the view on either side, but nothing 
now for a long while past has met the eye between that 



FROM THE WEST. 1 87 

distant range but desert, — desert on either hand, desert 
behind, and desert before us. At length, to the left of 
the iron way, the river Humboldt comes into sight, and 
broadening out into a lake, whose still surface it does not 
so much as ripple, the mountains, rosily outlined on the 
side of the sinking sun, and softly blue in their mysterious 
masses, are reflected in the calm mirror, and so answer 
to the hunger of the eye for change, that you almost 
doubt if the vision be not self-created. The twilight 
deepens, and the effects become more solemn as we 
travel onwards. Changing my seat, I see, on the other 
side of the line, the wide waste thickly sown with viscous 
alkaline salt, sweeping on to the base of the range of the 
Sierra Nevada, where we shall soon have to cross it; 
and the mountains that grow gradually higher, rising as 
a dark barrier against the sky where the sun, which is 
sending up shafts of light, glowing as with some awful 
conflagration, has gone down. Such a scene might have 
stood for the burning of the Cities of the Plain, and 
over such a salt-strown wilderness one could imagine 
the flight of the one just man, and the subduing to the 
pestilent influences of the place, the woman reluctant to 
be saved. 

The lamps are lighted, and the artificial glare, which 
yet is not near enough to the eye to allow of very com- 
fortable reading, shuts out the view. Later the negroes 
come and arrange the beds in the several sections for the 
night. We feel that we are constantly rising ; we cross 
the mountains, and from my berth, where I lie in very 
contented wakefulness, I have the glorious spectacle 



1 88 FLYING LEAVES. 

of the heavens with the stars in Orion looking like pools 
of light in the solid floor of the dark. The shadows of 
pines, too, begin to border the way, and I am glad that 
the desert is past. 

Saturday mornings October 2^th. — We reach Sacra- 
mento and have breakfast — a meal at last that may be 
really eaten. To have done more than pick to pieces, 
hide from observant eyes the messes provided in the 
" Palace car " buffets, or at the stations by the way, I 
should have required the persuasion of a revolver at my 
lips. Seated again in the train, I am told to look for 
the State House, but my gaze is arrested by the sight of 
green trees for which I have been long a-weary, and I 
fail to see it. 

We cross the Sacramento river on the largest boat in 
creation, a ferry capable of accommodating three lines of 
carriages abreast. We come to the Bay of San Fran- 
cisco, and behold the Pacific. We have journeyed from 
ocean to ocean. 



( i89 ) 



LEAF XL 

Monday, October 27th. 

HAVING visited a great many of the world-famed 
cities at home and abroad, I incHne to think 
that agglomerations of human dwellings are, for the 
most part, unbeautiful things. If such is the case 
in the Old World, where growth has been gradual 
and where happy accident and mellowing time have 
stepped in to correct human error, it is much more the 
case in the New. None which I have yet seen of the 
much-vaunted cities of the Far West has, in my eyes, 
justified its claim to beauty — nor is San Francisco an 
exception ; each of them has an interest of its own for 
the traveller, if even it should in some cases be one of 
repulsion. In Chicago this mixed feeling was with us 
at its highest, that city embodying most completely the 
principle which has shaped them all, and looking so 
entirely what it is — the very Zion of speculative activity, 
the opulent New Jerusalem of neck-or-nothing com- 
merce. San Francisco, young as it must seem to us 
slow-paced Old Worldlings, is of venerable antiquity com- 
pared with Chicago ; and its added age is very apparent 



190 FLYING LEAVES. 

in its riper aspect. Its streets of tall, stone-built, and 
very ornate houses, less massive than those of the 
capital of Illinois, are by no means remarkable for 
architectural effect, but the inequality of the ground 
having in some cases determined their direction, the 
city has a picturesqueness not common on this side of 
the Atlantic. The trees which are planted along the 
streets of so many American towns, though commonly 
all of one kind, are always a pleasing feature ; but even 
trees carried through mile upon mile of street and boule- 
vard fail wholly to alleviate the hard squareness and 
depressing monotony of blocks of houses all at right 
angles and marshalled according to geometrical rule. 
No place is here given to the lovely accidents above 
alluded to, by which nature reclaims for beauty and de- 
light the erring efforts of men. Of trees there are none 
in San Francisco ; but the long vistas of the streets give 
a welcome vision of the neighbouring hills, climbed by 
suburban blocks and villas. The thoroughfares are very 
thronged with foot-passengers and vehicles, and the 
huge street cars, following close upon one another, glide 
backwards and forwards as by magic from early morn- 
ing till deep into the night. The tariff of the carriages 
is so high as to be almost defensive, and we took to 
these public conveyances quite naturally, our first 
journey on the first day of our arrival being made in 
one of them to Golden Gate Park Station, where we 
took the train for Cliff House. 

I ought to have known that San Francisco was built 
upon a sand bank ; but if I had ever possessed the in- 



FROM THE WEST. I9I 

formation it had escaped me, and I was disappointed 
accordingly to find in this cUmate, perfect at the 
present season, so little natural verdure. The road and 
the railway were in many places bordered by hillocks 
of shifting sand, on which the print of a passing 
foot was marked by holes of many inches deep, while 
in other places the wind had left upon these banks, 
the impress as of rippling waves. From Cliff House 
Hotel, a building placed on an eminence at the 
entrance to the Golden Gate, the view on to the 
Pacific, whose shores we had reached after so many 
hundred miles of travel, was superb. Here we sat 
on the long and deep piazza, looking towards the West, 
which had now become the East, enjoying the sight 
of the ocean sparkling in the sun, the faint peaks 
of the FaroUone Islands in the extreme distance, the 
rocks, alive with sea-lions, near at hand, and the great 
ocean rollers breaking down below under our feet. 
With the sound of the crashing waves came the cease- 
less roar of the strange animals whose bodies were 
writhing and wriggling one above the other as it 
seemed, all over the three abrupt rocks which broke 
the surface of the ocean not half a mile from the shore. 
Occasionally one of these creatures, taller or stronger 
than his fellows, would succeed in standing upon end, 
and, turning from side to side with emphatic gestures 
of his short arms, would roar down the rest, who grew 
silent for a moment, as the listeners to a popular 
preacher. Doubtless they were happy in the fresh sea 
breeze and the sunshine ; but so crowded together and 



192 FLYING LEAVES. 

in ceaseless motion, they had a horrible look of restless 
grubs. I liked better to watch them when they took 
to the water, disporting themselves in the waves, riding 
upon, or plunging beneath, the hollow ocean ridges. 

Returning by train as we had come, we stopped at 
the station and walked into the Golden Gate Park, from 
which the band and the company attracted by it were 
streaming out I wanted to see flowers. I was hungry 
for them after long fasting, and was told that my appetite 
would find full satisfaction here. It was not so. A few 
fuchsias, petunias, geraniums, marguerites, and lobelias 
were all that lingered. Not a single rose was in bloom, 
and not many appeared to be cultivated. On the other 
hand, the garden was beautiful in itself, pleasantly undu- 
lating, and charmingly laid out, the trimly cut, somewhat 
coarse turf of the richest green, and the young conifers 
and shrubs generally miraculously thriving in their soil 
of what looked to the eye to be only sea sand. 

We returned to our hotel, which was the Palace, and 
well deserving of its name, furnishing as it does accom- 
modation, more or less sumptuous, for twelve hundred 
guests. Not the sea-lions themselves could have enjoyed 
the water more than we did the big bath which was 
among the luxuries of our installment. We revelled, we 
are still revelling, in it. We are like amphibia who have 
been dwelling in a desert. We made quite an orgie of 
baths, hot and cold, the first evening and morning after our 
arrival, all encrusted as we were with the dust of two 
nights' travel. We felt irrationally that we could atone 
for past omission by baths of supererogation. We had 



FROM THE WEST. 1 93 

a kind of hydrophobia ; but our madness was the craving 
for, not the disinclination to, water. 

At lunch we met a lady well known in connection with 
the Woman's Suffrage movement in England, and seen 
by us not so long ago at a meeting at Mr. and Mrs. 
Kinnaird's, where she insisted upon introducing a dis- 
turbing element into the proceedings, and was cried 
down as an obstructive. It was with very different feel- 
ings that we now heard her voice. The accurately 
chiselled utterance of the native tongue which found its 
unobstructed way over this lady's lips was, to our ears, as 
music. For the rest, a kind and good woman, and 
none the worse for having the courage of her opinions. 

The service of the Palace Hotel is performed by negroes, 
most of whom appear to be pur sang, while the chamber- 
maids are quadroons, the latter fairly good-looking, but by 
no means beauties, such as I had hoped to find in this 
particular admixture of the black and white races. The 
elderly negro under whose care we usually find ourselves 
at table is a sympathetic human being, and altogether a 
favourable representative of his class ; quietly observant, 
obliging, speaking a very good English, daintily clean as 
to his linen and the keeping of his dusky hands, and 
with the ends of his rebellious moustache carefully waxed. 
This attention to appearance in a man of his age, and in 
the entire absence, unusual in a negro, of self-conscious- 
ness, had something in it more than merely respectable — 
it was humanly touching. Accustomed to the amount 
of solid food with which the American ladies support 
their frail organizations, he was disturbed, almost con- 

o 



194 FLYING LEAVES. 

founded, by the little use I was able to make of the good 
things spread before me ; and, refusing to abide by my 
modest demands, brought me plat after plat in the hope 
of awaking appetite by surprise. I did my best, and was 
sorry I could not do more. His grieved look at my 
husband, in whom I am sure he already saw a widower, 
were an eloquent appeal. 

A due sense of the pleasure of spending money is 
experienced by me for the first time in America— here 
in San Francisco. The shops are very attractive, more 
especially those devoted to Japanese porcelain, lacquer- 
work, and curios. I have seen nothing of such finished 
art in London as some of the best of these— objects not 
only to gratify the careless eye by their grace of line, 
harmony, and balance, but things to improve your leisure 
with, examining the means by which the effects are pro- 
duced and the almost miraculous skill of the handling. 
A wave as of the artist's joy in production seemed to 
reach you as you looked. As for our own paintings on 
china in comparison with these, the pigments look as if 
" laid on with a trowel." 

Tuesday ^ 2^th. — After a quiet morning, I went with 

E again to the Golden Gate Park, which we had as 

yet only imperfectly seen, and where we found a con- 
siderable concourse of people assembled to listen to the 
excellent band. The richer class had come in buggies 
and other light carriages, borne swiftly along by their 
trotting horses ; others, like ourselves, had arrived on the 
scene by the street cars, and were now promenading the 
paths with an eye on the crowded benches, or dotted in 



FROM THE WEST. 1 95 

pairs or groups all over the green mounds of the gardens. 
A light, graceful pavilion as a conservatory for the rarer 
plants, and a flight of steps bordered by tropical foliage 
leading to a higher level of the grounds, gave something 
of an Eastern, a Chinese or Japanese reflection to this 
pleasance of the Far West. But the climate was all its 
own — a climate unmatched in my experience ; one neither 
of summer or winter, of autumn or spring ; such a climate, 
if it were ever thus, as might be predicated of Paradise. 
There had been a sHght rainfall before we arrived, and 
the dust, which is sometimes a torment, had been laid. 
It was a satisfaction to us, after the crude associations of 
the newly opened regions through which we had lately 
passed, to contemplate so many genial and seemingly 
contented faces, to see people enjoying a moment of 
leisure and to mark the order and good humour which 
everywhere prevailed. This last was especially noticeable 
on our return by the same means as we had come. The 
rush for the cars so soon as the music had -ceased, was 
of the most animated. To secure, not even a seat, but 
just standing room, it was necessary to hurry forward 
and meet them on their way to the turn-table, whereon, 
at the end of their course, they rotate, and to spring on 
in one of the brief moments in which they halt from time 
to time. With all this eagerness, of which we were in the 
thick, we saw no single instance of rudeness or even 
discourtesy. Those who won in the race were well 
content, and those who failed looked for better luck next 
time. But the broad car which had seemed so com- 
modious on our way thither, had become a closely packed 



196 FLYING LEAVES. 

den on our return. It says much for the fair play of the 
aspirants for places, that I, who am not very good at a 
scrimmage, found a seat ; at the risk, however, of being 
stifled by the press of standers who hung on to straps 
suspended from the roof for the purpose of steadying 
them in such emergency. Among the crowd unaccom- 
modated with seats, the arms of several were impeded 
with infants, who were received after a time into the laps 
of the sitters, with apparently mutual satisfaction. I was 
amused at the conversation of two girls, my very near 
neighbours, who were discussing the personal pretensions 
of an acquaintance as they gyrated from side to side. 
The least of these two damsels, who was very Httle 
indeed, dangling from the suspender in a way which did 
credit to the strength of her muscles, for she was wholly 
off the ground, struck against me occasionally like the 
clapper of a bell. 

"She's tall," said the bigger girl, "and she's proud; 

but she's real fine." 

"Fine!" cried the little one; "call that fine? She's 

old — she's an did woman." 

" She's a young girl," returned the more tolerant of the 

speakers ; " she's twenty-five." And the two heads were 

knocked together in a whisper, in which I surmised the 

date to be verified by details too personal for the ear of 

even the most passing stranger. 

" Well, anyhow she's got two teeth that are stuffed, and 

a false switch," said the small girl viciously. 
" She's got lots of beaus," said her companion. 
" She's got more than she can keep," retorted the midge. 



FROM THE WEST. 1 97 

' I guess she don't want 'em for long," observed the 
other, provokingly. 

"They'd find her out if she did," returned the little 
fury. " She's well enough to look at of afternoons, when 
she's made up with all her fixin's, but she's real mean in 
the mornin'." 

And I felt a shock from the angry little person, as it 
swung to and fro with the movement of the vehicle, such 
as might have resulted from the contact with an electric 
eel. I fear that in the matter of " beaus " the fair subject 
of discussion had not respected the meum and tuum. 

The dinner toilets with which the San Francisco, or 
the travelling American ladies, think it worth while to 
regale the eyes of strangers at the hotel, are often very 
elaborate, and sometimes beautiful ; and if there are not 
many flowers at this season in the gardens, they abound 
as personal decorations ; long trails of roses and other 
blossoms descending from shoulder to waist, and looking 
in their moist freshness dangerously suggestive of colds 
upon the chest. Much as I had sighed for flowers, it 
was no answer to my longing to see this waste of floral 
life. It was strange in this far region and among 
all this conventional elegance, to note on the person of 
our Enghsh friend, an example of that dress reform of 
these latter days which takes the shape of the divided 
skirt. The contrast between the severity of this costume 
and the multifarious drapings and adornments of the 
Parisian gowns with which it was surrounded, was too 
striking, and it required all the unconscious dignity with 
which it was worn to save it from impertinent remark. 



190 FLYING LEAVES. 

Wednesday y the 2gth. — This morning before lunch we 
walked a little about the town, visiting the Califomian 
Market, and admiring its orderly arrangement, and the 
abundance, variety, and beauty of the fruits of the earth, 
which are there so temptingly set forth. Boxes of 
strawberries, a second crop, are displayed in the stalls 
side by side with the delicious little blue figs of the 
country; also green peas, now in these last days of 
October, together with yams, tomatoes, egg-plants, pears, 
apples, plums, grapes of all shades and finest quality, 
bananas hanging in rows one above the other as thick as 
peas in a pod covering branches of palm of two feet 
long and upwards, and the vegetables as it might seem 
of every climate under the sun. In noting this exuberant 
fruitfulness of the banana, we both called to mind Sir 
Charles Dilke's characterization of the plant in his 
" Greater Britain." He is speaking of the demoralizing 
effect upon human character and progress of the facility 
it supplies to existence, and launches an eloquent dia- 
tribe against it as " this accursed tree." I suppose the 
sunshine and the extreme levity of the air prevented our 
taking very serious views of life at the moment, but 
in face of this tier upon tier of innocent-looking golden 
fruit, we both laughed at the hard name applied to it. 
I thought of the sun-kissed land which had broken into 
such lavish fertility, and the genial words came back to 
me, "This is a field which the Lord hath blessed." 
But the philosopher is right ; the banana may be good 
for food, but it is not a " tree to be desired to make 
one wise." We carried away a big box of strawberries, 



FROM THE WEST. 199 

more than we could have eaten in two days, for which, 
the season being nearly over, we paid half a dollar, and 
also some dozen of the figs dried in the sun, a free gift 
of the fruiterer of whom I had asked to be allowed to 
taste one for curiosity. 

We had gazed at the shops as we passed before entering 
the market, and, seeing what our former experience had 
been, I was surprised at the many objects acceptable to 
an exacting taste, which were to be found in them. 
However recently the majority of the inhabitants of San 
Francisco may have attained to wealth, it is clear that 
there exists a class well learned in the most approved 
fashion of scattering it in view of a fair return. On our 
way from the hotel we had lingered before the brilliant 
show in a jeweller's window, and afterwards, at the 
polite invitation of the jeweller, had entered the shop, 
when he showed us a large collection of diamonds of the 
purest water, and permitted us to contemplate at our 
ease the fine decorations of the interior, and the many 
beautiful things displayed in the cases. What are here 
called the dry goods stores and the shops for " Yankee 
notions" are also tempting; the women's fancies and 
furbelows cunningly set forth, and the vanity-fair 
business altogether well conducted. 

In the afternoon we visited the Chinese quarter — 
Chinatown as it is called, — and saw all that was to be 

seen from the outside. E had been there already for 

the second time, and was fortunate in meeting with a 
good-natured native of San Francisco (but indeed they 
seem all good-natured), who constituted himself his guide, 



200 FLYING LEAVES. 

and gave him much interesting information. The Chinese 
population in CaUfornia numbers at this time 100,000 
souls, 3200 of whom dwell in San Francisco, occupying 
but six blocks of the part of the town they have 
appropriated to themselves. They live close, like bees 
in a hive ; and as bees, they are industrious. There is 
said to be no trade or calling known among men, save 
only that of blacksmith, which has not its adepts among 
the dwellers of Chinatown. I have not been able to 
learn the cause of this one reservation. The Chinaman 
though tolerated, favoured even in California as nowhere 
else in the States, is not permitted to become the pos- 
sessor of freehold property ; but, taking his houses upon 
long lease, he has contrived in many instances, so to sur- 
round some big hotel, or better street, the objects of his 
ambition, as to drive away the white occupants and step 
quietly into their places. One hotel thus taken posses- 
sion of, is now the resort, workshop, and dwelling-place, 
of no less than six hundred of these busy bees. When in 
the later part of this day we revisited Chinatown together, 
we were not content with walking the streets and peering 
into the shops where the men were plying their various 
trades,, but climbed some steep stairs and took a survey 
of the interior of one of their restaurants, and afterwards 
found our way by the paying of half a dollar, into a 
joss house. The inside of the restaurant did not justify 
the promise made from without. I can imagine nothing 
short of being one of the " useless mouths " of a city in a 
state of siege that could make me partake of any of the 
kickshaws of that devil's kitchen ; even then I think I 



FROM THE WEST. 20I 

should have grace to prefer a more lingering death. Hashes 
of tubular organisms looking like earth-worms, birds of 
the size of chickens and the form of cranes made ready 
for the spit in the cruel mockery of flight, multifarious 
messes in little saucers, pots, and pans, and refuse of all 
sorts mixed with shells having a fatal affinity with those of 
snails, must have sufficed to rebut any but an appetite to 
the manner born. I am afraid my polite endeavours to 
look pleased as I walked from one table to the other 
and examined these dainties, were very unsuccessful, for 
the Chinamen watched my movements with angry eyes, 
and their loud voices bawling to each other in the harsh 
accents of the native tongue made me fear that we were 
hardly wise in having entered this elysium unattended. 
Be that as it may, the clamour and the odours exhaled 
drove us down the dirty stairs into the street quite as 
quickly as we had ascended. The balconies of these 
eating-houses, as seen from the street, have a very 
Oriental aspect, and it is only in these places that I have 
beheld growing flowers in San Francisco. Here it is 
common to have chrysanthemums in variously shaped 
and coloured pots, mixed with paper lanterns and other 
characteristic adornments. 

The joss-house was not more fragrant than the eating- 
house, and the impure air was further loaded with the 
fumes of a not very aromatic incense. We faced the 
darkness (we could at first see nothing but the taper of 
our guide) and endured the closeness, upheld by an 
irresistible curiosity. The word in this place correctly 
used, reminds me of its employment in a different sense 



202 FLYING LEAVES. 

by an old New York merchant at Manitou. This 
gentleman, who sat all day long upon a rocking-chair, 
thought great scorn of us for running after the beauties 
of nature ; insisting, from the height of his heels, which 
he kept well above his head, that he for his part " had 
no curiosity." But to return to our joss-house. The 
Chinaman at the wicket had the dull, unspeculative eye 
and falling hp of what we had now learnt to recognize 
as the "opium face;" but he managed to pull himself 
together when we spoke to him, and to shout out a 
monosyllable which brought to our service that other one 
of the servants of the temple who was now our guide. 
This last had a very limited acquaintance with the 
English tongue, but we contrived to make out that the 
idol occupying the first shrine was the representative of 
one who in life had been an unsuccessful speculator. It 
may be supposed that he had since graduated with 
distinction in the school of Pluto, otherwise one is at a 
loss to imagine what gain might be expected from him 
in return for the cups of tea with which he was regularly 
plied. Passing on to other tabernacles, our attention 
was called to kings and emperors, black, white, and red, 
and always three together ; and in a shrine, shut in by a 
black veil, to a " good woman," to whom Oriental polite- 
ness had allowed a head. The " good " lady, also making 
one of three, was seated between two others unaccom- 
modated with characters. The last image to which we 
were introduced was that of an aged man who had 
walked or crawled the earth for a hundred and fifty 
years, and who possessed the power of imparting, in some 



FROM THE WEST. 203 

occult manner, the secret of longevity to his worshippers. 
This shrine was much affected by persons who were 
beginning to feel their natural powers enfeebled. At one 
of the tabernacles of the kings, by the side of the burning 
incense, we remarked a sort of lots, the notches on which 
would inform the drawer of the number of doses of 
medicine to be taken in order to a cure of his particular 
malady. We made some attempts to extract from our 
guide the nature of his religious convictions ; but he was 
either very reticent on the point, or his imperfect 
vocabulary was a bar to the exchange of abstract ideas. 

From the joss-house we went to Chinese Alley, where 
we had the sad sight of several vacant girlish faces, 
hapless rather than unhappy, planted behind little 
latticed windows, and looking fair, with their glabrous 
black tresses and eyes aslant, upon the sunless back- 
ground of their dens. Here, as in China proper, where 
polygamy is and always has been in full force, the plea 
of Mormonism that it is a preventive of prostitution, 
receives emphatic contradiction. We hurried from this 
hopeless inferno, and unattended as we were, thought it 
better not to venture into the opium dens, and indeed 
had seen enough of what was unsavoury, darksome, and 
pestilent in China town, for one day. What strikes one 
as anomalous is the look of personal cleanUness and 
high keeping of these ill-living Orientals. The barbers 
shops, which abound in every street, are never without 
customers, whose figures are to be seen through window 
and door, with heads thrown back, resigned to the play 
of razor and tweezers and other mysterious little instru- 



204 FLYING LEAVES. 

ments, in all which they seem to find a kind of lazy 
delight. No well-licked puppy can look more sleek than 
these quaintly dressed beings as they issue from under 
the hands of the professional manipulators, razed and 
plucked, with not a hair of shining pig-tail or interroga- 
tive eyebrow, awry. We occasionally saw women of the 
decent classes, but not of that distinction which is 
marked by crippled feet, gliding or shuffling on their 
white-soled shoes, apparently unsoiled by the dirty 
street, passing on their way with a furtive air and look of 
haste, often beautifully dressed, and always with carefully 
arranged hair. But the most grotesque of all these 
figures were those of the little children, whose wadded 
garments made them as broad as they were long, and 
whose little pig-tails generally stood out on end. On 
the whole we did not regret the time passed in this 
transplanted portion of the flowery land, however 
villainous the perfume of many parts of it. 



( 205 ) 



LEAF XII. 

ON Wednesday afternoon, the 30th of October, we 
re-crossed the bay in one of the truly palatial 
boats, on our way to the Yosemite Valley, and passed the 
night in the train, although reaching Madera about 
II p.m. Our companions in the car were another pair 
of married couples, a girl-wife and her young husband, 
who were making the tour of the world in search of 
health, both English; and a more elderly bride and 
bridegroom, Americans, who I imagine were launched 
upon a second matrimonial venture, which, seeing that 
they were amiable and reasonable, I judged likely to be 
successful. The lady appeared to have an admixture of 
some blood, possibly Mexican, which was warmer than 
that of the ordinary white American, and the gentleman 
was a favourable specimen compounded of strong Yankee 
stuff which time had mellowed, his sedate talk giving 
you glimpses of a past of very varied experience, in 
which he had been " prospecting " for gold, had carried 
his own life in his hand, and been compelled it would 
seem on more than one occasion to make the choice 
between losing it or taking that of another. The little 
English wife was every way chauming, and no more 



206 FLYING LEAVES. 

wayward than was inevitable under the circumstances, 
her husband appearing to be her sworn Hege and well- 
contented servant, though I could not feel certain that 
there was not some innocent chicanery in the matter. 
Certain it is, that if her servant, he was not her follower, 
she being taken about the world much against her will, 
and only able to indemnify herself by letting him feel it 
at every point Withal a most tenderly loving couple, 
whose first joy of mutual possession was a thing to 
warm the heart but to look on. 

We six persons had all retired to our separate hiding- 
places, and were buttoned up in our curtains, plunged in 
the deep sleep that is apt to fall upon man in the small 
hours of the night, when we were suddenly aroused to 
full consciousness by a rude shouting and knocking upon 
the sides of our berths. It was the conductor, or so we 
believed in the dim light, who made it his pretext that 
he was in search of a pillow, but who without having 
found or looked for it as far as we could see, began 
torturing us all with questions about what we would have 
for breakfast. We were none of us hungry, but all 
wretchedly sleepy at the time, and the answers extorted 
represented nothing but a desire to escape this inhuman 
inquisition, the cause of which could only be that the 
operator was in league with the harpies at the hotel. 
He retired with a full list of our requirements, the 
various items of which had been of his own prompting, 
and amid a chorus of invective issuing in every key 
from between the closed curtains. I can imagine the 
sardonic grin with which the words, "shameful, 



FROM THE WEST. 207 

scandalous, brutal, cowardly," uttered in tearful tones 
were received by our tormenter, who would feel nothing 
but contempt for such a company of unarmed foes. 
Had the meal with which our strength was to be fortified 
for the coming trial been what it should be, I think we 
might have in part forgiven him, but as it was, never ! 
The breakfast, which had cost us so dear, was at once 
insufficient and uneatable. We were called up to it in 
the grey dawn, and sulkily and in silence, like furtive 
ghosts, we, gentlemen and ladies, passed each other in 
our dressing-gowns, on our way to the washing-closets at 
either end of the car. Oh, for one of those baths of 
supererogation into which we had plunged at San 
Francisco! But creature comforts were not to enter 
into our programme of pleasures for the next week. 
Such as the breakfast was, we were given to understand 
it was the best we should get until our return by the 
same road, and that if we required any refection at all 
between this and " Clarke's," a station in the thick of the 
forest at which we were to arrive at nine at night, we 
must take it with us. Having no one to befriend us, 
we could not venture to withstand this self-interested 
advice, and when we were packed into the vehicle which 
was to be our home for the day, our impedimenta, 
already sufficiently oppressive, received the addition of 
three large packages containing what purported to be 
six very copious luncheons. 

The sun was not yet well above the horizon when we 
started in our rough mountain coach, drawn by six 
horses, and rumbled off along a road which made a pale 



208 FLYING LEAVES. 

yellow track athwart a tawny prairie. How it came that 
this dusty looking way had the resistant power to shake 
us to and fro and toss us up and down in the manner it 
did, I never could make out. At San Francisco we had 
been warned, with much head-shaking, against making the 
attempt to reach the Yosemite Valley in the present state 
of the roads, unless gifted with exceptional powers of 
endurance. Again and again it had been proposed 
either that the expedition should be given up, or that 
the one of us two who was able-bodied should go alone, 
while the other remained in quiet possession at the 
Palace Hotel. I had turned a deaf ear to these cautious 
advices, and mocked at the pusillanimous plaints of 
people who for their own part seemed to have escaped 
unhurt. I am free to confess that when something less 
than half way on our first day's stage of sixty-eight miles, 
I misdoubted that my valour had lacked discretion. 
The sun rose slanting into our faces, and the dust 
followed suit. The terrible coaches along this line, 
which had been pronounced by an American gentleman, 
indignant "at my husband's apprehensions, as " the finest 
coaches in all creation," may be well adapted to the wild 
work required of them ; but they are instruments of 
torture all the same. In this wherein we found 
ourselves, we continued to be shaken until our bones 
rattled, and our flesh was covered with bruises. Weary 
and sore, we had an angry consciousness of looking 
grotesque as we were danced up and down, and knocked 
against each other and the iron supports of the awning, 
while being driven hour after hour over interminable 



FROM THE WEST. 209 

miles of featureless desert. This lasted from a quarter to 
six, when we had started from Madera, till half-past 
one, when we arrived at Coarse Gold Gulch, where we 
halted for lunch. It was a pleasant spot, and came 
upon us as a kind of oasis. Gladly we stretched our 
limbs, and declining the hostess's pressing offers of 
hospitality with the dignified consciousness of people 
who knew better, we spread out the viands we had 
brought from Madera on the table of the vine-covered 
verandah. The deepening disappointment of our 
several faces as parcel after parcel was opened and its 
contents drawn forth, might have seemed comic to an 
uninterested spectator, but I doubt if the humour of the 
situation struck any of us at the time. Some uninviting 
scraps of meat, pinions, drumsticks, and backbones of 
chicken hiding themselves in thick hunks of bread, with 
sardines deeply embedded in cake — leavings which the 
doubly smart waiters had stolen from their employers 
and foisted upon us — were found to be all the contents 
of the packages with which we had suffered ourselves to 
be incommoded. By the time this worse than Barmicide 
feast had been duly spread — I had placed even a bunch 
of flowers upon the cloth before becoming acquainted 
with our deception — the dinner-bell within had long rung 
out its peal, and our driver and some others who had 
been loafing about, had got pretty well through their 
repast. We did our duty staunchly by our shattered 
bodies, setting to work to pick what nourishment we 
could out of the miscellaneous mess, and having at length 
tossed it from us in disgust, we had the further mortifica- 

p 



2IO FLYING LEAVES. 

tion of finding that our annoyance was more than shared 
by our good German hostess, who had with her own hands 
prepared for us what would probably have proved an 
honest meal. The best part of this being now thrown 

upon her hands, E did what he could to console her 

by saddling himself with sundry bottles of wine. 

Refreshed by rest if not by food, we again took our 
seats on the coach unparalleled in creation, and were 
thrown into the air and banged against each other for 
mile upon mile as before. Under such circumstances 
I am deeply impressed with the wisdom of confining 
one's self to "short views of life," and accordingly I 
declined flatly to entertain the idea, found distressful by 
some of our fellow-sufferers, that this business would 
shortly be confronted again on the return journey. I 
set my teeth together — a needful precaution or they 
might have been broken — and thought with the lover in 
Browning's " Last Ride Together," " Who knows but the 
world may end to-night ? " Mercifully there was an 
awning to the coach, for the sun through the long day 
shone down upon us unmitigated by a cloud, and it was 
not until it was lower, and there was hope of its 
departure, that it began to sap our strength and powers 
of resistance by streaming under the cover upon the 
small of our backs. But insensibly the prospect was 
improving ; hills were rising in the distance, trees were 
no longer absent from the scene, and a scrubby vegeta- 
tion, consisting mainly of weedy things with the eternal 
globes of seed-vessels where flowers had been, bordered 
the road close at hand. Once, while we were stopping 



FROM THE WEST. 211 

to change horses, we got out and stretched our limbs at 
a lonely ranche, and gave a little of our company to the 
solitary female occupant, who told us that such chance 
converse was all she ever knew of the outside world. 
But the strong spirit of nature seemed to have entered 
into this woman, who seemed anything but dull and 
dispirited, and expressed herself well satisfied with her 
life and its surroundings. Some distance from Coarse 
Gold Gulch, at an angle where two roads biforked, a 
wild-looking man was awaiting our passage, and made 
some dumb motion to our driver as we approached. 
Whereupon the latter threw him a packet, a letter or a 
newspaper, accompanying it with a question, which so 
far as I could make out, met with no intelligible answer. 
The lonely squatter picked up his prize and made oif 
with it, muttering sounds not sufficiently articulate to 
convey any notion except that by disuse of speech he 
had lost the desire, almost the faculty for it. A few 
yards further, and we lighted on a small encampment 
of Indians ; and at one of our halting-places were struck 
by a pretty sight — the flutter of a myriad vans of 
butterflies which had settled on a large table where 
grapes were drying in the sun. The incidents of our 
tedious journey were becoming more dramatic. In time, 
too, as we rose the hill, our pace was slackened, and we 
felt the comparative quiet a welcome reprieve. Then 
the sun set ; and while we were still watching the 
departing glory, the moon rose. From the treeless 
desert, flat as the sea, we were gradually coming upon 
a region of vast rolling hills covered with conifera, 



212 FLYING LEAVES. 

which grew taller and taller as we penetrated deeper 
into the primaeval forest. Yes, it was the primaeval 
forest, or the "forest primaeval," as, after Longfellow, 
the words went singing themselves in the minds of more 
than one of us. After this I remember no more jolting, 
no more heat, crowding, or weariness ; if such things 
were, they were unfelt. The fortifying mountain air, the 
pungent breath of the pines, and the animating presence 
of beauty, had tuned up our relaxed spirits as if we 
had been so many harps. The scenery had still a 
certain sameness as we rounded curve after curve of the 
great hills bristling with pines ; but by degrees the forms 
gained more character, the hills rose into mountains, the 
valleys sunk away at our feet, and the openings in the 
many-folded glens revealed distance upon distance 
receding in aerial perspective. And now, while the sky 
behind us where the sun had set was still one chrysolite 
of brilliant hue, the forest track before us was losing its 
colour; the grand masses of the distant mountains 
floating vaguely on the sky-line, the tall black spires of 
the cedar and the yellow pine shooting up beside the 
path as we passed them at full speed, like rockets, while 
the deciduous trees interspersed caught the faint moon- 
beams on their shining leaves, and made a silvery net- 
work upon the gathering shadows. And still as we 
advanced, the mighty giants of the forest towered up 
ever high and higher into the clear, Califomian heaven ; 
the camp-fires of Indians twinkled like stars at different 
depths of the gloom between, and I knew that the 
passage of that coach was noted by scores of ears and 



FROM THE WEST. 213 

eyes not dulled by books and social ease, but sharpened 
in the savage training-school of nature ; the eyes and ears 
of wild beings who would draw their subtle conclusions 
from indications unappreciable by the senses of civilized 
man. Occasionally^ where no waiting human form was 
at hand, our coachman would fling a letter or parcel into 
a box attached to a giant tree; a solitary post-office 
whence it would be taken by some lonely dweller in the 
bush at his nearest convenience. 

Our last stage was a long one for the clever, enduring 
horses, but for ourselves we had ceased to think of the 
end in our enjoyment of the solemn grandeur of the 
scene, and the strong appeals made by it to the imagina- 
tion. Having some time passed the highest point in our 
mountain drive, we were now descending at a rapid pace, 
and the skill with which the driver tooled his team of 
six, down the steep incline, and in and out the hollows 
of the deep gullies which cleft the mountain side, shared 
our admiration with the wonders of the moonlit forest. 
We drew up after a merry spin at a mountain stream, 
which, rushing down a deep fissure, crossed the road, 
and tumbled with an awakening roar into the sleeping 
depth below. Here we paused to water and breathe the 
horses, and our time was well employed taking in at 
eyes and ears the unutterable harmony, the symphony 
in tone and colour, that was offered to both senses — the 
deep thunder of the torrent which parted the silence of 
the night in these forest depths ; the wan water in eternal 
movement, and beside it the great, black, sentinel trees 
standing in immovable watch. These last were many 



214 FLYING LEAVES. 

of them of such vast dimensions, that they seemed like 
survivals of a world in which the mastodon and mega- 
therian had been familiar objects. 

After a brief halt we resumed what might fitly be 
called our mad career, though I think we were one and 
all too bewitched with the influences of the moment to 
feel it otherwise than delightful. The frost was crisp 
under the horses' feet, the air of the night laden with 
the forest perfumes, our very bruises seemed healed by 
its balm, and our aches forgotten in the spirit of adventure 
that possessed us — dwellers, and some of us impatient 
dwellers, in the smooth-trodden places of the earth. 
The inspiriting sense of novelty was heightened also by 
a just appreciable suspicion of possible danger; or 
rather we, the women of the party, made the most of 
the little fear countenanced by the fact that we were but 
seven, while the Indians about us were an unknown 
quantity, to add a spice of its strange flavour to the 
situation. The weird shapes of the charred and blackened 
trunks which seemed to point denunciatory arms at us 
as we passed, helped us not a Uttle ; and before long, 
to the left of the road where the monster trees stood 
aside for a space, we came upon such a large camp of 
Indians, as, remembering their warlike love of scalps, 
might almost have given the hair of our heads an excuse 
for rising. A huge fire was blazing merrily upon the 
ground, and standing in line behind it, their faces and 
wild figures ruddy in the glow, and their long black 
elf-locks outlined by the moon, stood a group of twenty 
or more of these outcast owners of the land. Their 



FROM THE WEST. 215 

attitudes as they calmly regarded us in our rapid passage, 
standing themselves immovable as the trees, were marked 
by such majesty of repose as we in our restless lives have 
lost the secret of. They stood out in the brilliant frosty 
night between their tents and the fire, their blankets 
wrapped about them, their arms folded, or leaning upon 
each other, a picture never to be forgotten; it was 
probably their social hour. As we came alongside, a 
figure detached itself from the group, and came running 
and shouting to the side of the coach. It was a shabby 
figure enough, seen obscurely in the colourless shade, 
dressed in the garments of civilization presented by the 
American Government. The shout was a commission, 
one of several that our driver had received by the way ; 
" One load of straw, and for four bits of sugar," was the 
modest demand, which, I have no doubt, was faithfully - 
borne in mind. 

After this the descent became manifestly steeper, and 
the pace proportionately more rapid ; we seemed rush- 
ing headlong down the declivity, the coach swaying from 
side to side as with its long body and six horses it swept 
like a serpent, doubling upon itself, rounding the abrupt 
curves, and zigzagging upon its way. But we were 
sensible of a nervous and skilful hand upon the reins, 
and not the sound of a breath of fear came from either 
of the weaker vessels who formed a portion of its freight. 
The house which is known as " Clarke's " — a hospitable 
looking house in the heart of the forest, was reached at 
last. We descended a little stiffly, and made our way 
within. A door was open to the right, and another to 



2l6 FLYING LEAVES. 

the left, each disclosing a bright interior ; that to the right 

looked the pleasantest, and I entered, while E was 

making arrangements for our accommodation. A huge 
wood fire was blazing on the hearth, which was surrounded 
by four or five people on rocking-chairs. The ceiling 
was festooned with garlands as for a fete, and the word 
" Welcome " was inscribed in leaves over the chimney- 
piece. It was an inviting bourne to arrive at after a 
day of thirteen hours' travel, and the movement of the 
kind occupants of the rocking-chairs to let me into the 
circle, emphasized the word " welcome." The unpainted 
v/alls and furniture, and the homely adornment of this 
chamber, gave it a look as of belonging to some good 
woman in a fairy tale. We had an excellent supper of 
venison cutlets, and tea, and retired to the rest we had 
so well earned, after washing off the dust of the journey 
in a tedious, piecemeal cold bath, such as alone our 
means admitted of. For attendance is nil in America, 
and a tub an unknown contrivance; you and your 
baggage are committed to a room which is possibly very 
scantily supplied with the requirements of civilization, 
and there left, often, as in the present instance, without 
so much as a bell to bring aid in case of emergency. 



( 217 



LEAF XIII. 

WE slept well notwithstanding, and arose with the 
sun the following morning, much refreshed, and 
ready for the pull that was before us. The weather was 
delightful, sunny and fresh, the white frost cracking 
under our feet in the little clearing about the house which 
we trod on our way to the studio of Mr. Hill, an 
artist who has made many studies of the Yosemite Valley, 
and of the more newly discovered Yellowstone Park. 
Our driver this day was a mulatto, an equally skilful and 
a more careful whip than the one of yesterday. For 
this, the steepness, narrowness, and roughness of the 
road, gave cause of thankfulness. We began to climb 
immediately, the carriage grinding and bumping up the 
steep, and groaning as if rendering the unwilling service 
of a camel. There is nothing so unreasoning as fear. 
I had dashed down the declivities of the day before, and 
others of the same nature in Switzerland, with no feeling 
but the quickening of the pulse with glad excitement. 
But the slow toil of hours, the strain upon carriage and 
horses in the drag up the side of the mountain, has 
always to me seemed torture. I rendered the highest 
tribute it was in my power to pay to the might of beauty 



2l8 FLYING LEAVES. 

this day, for my temples were oppressed, my breathing 
difficult, my whole frame overcome with the feeling of 
helplessness, which accompanies mountain sickness ; and 
yet there were moments when, taking courage to lift my 
eyes, they became suddenly filled with the tears of a 
quite unspeakable delight. Possibly the strain of the 
day before, borne unconsciously at the time, was making 
itself felt in this greater susceptibility. 

But they were truly enchanted scenes through which 
we were passing; scenes to be stored up in memory 
to relieve the darkness of wakeful nights, and fill " that 
inward eye which is the bliss of solitude." There was 
no longer the monotony of effect which had marked 
the beginnings of the forest yesterday. We were in the 
thick of the fulness of its glory. Never before had I 
beheld so much natural wealth ; never, perhaps, shall 
I see such again. A mountain region, millions of acres, 
hundreds of miles, of primaeval forest, its vastness made 
palpable to the sense in the scale furnished by the 
gigantic conifers which grew beside the path, and became 
less and less as they climbed the receding mountains 
and disappeared down their slopes, to dwindle to nothing 
in the sunny haze which seemed in the far distance to 
suck them into the sky. These prodigious trees, which 
appeared as we passed beneath them to be charging the 
heavens, had a quite inexhaustible fascination for me ; 
I was never weary of regarding and comparing them. 
Though not the "big trees" proper, which are confined 
to certain spots as yet unvisited, these cedars, Douglas, 
yellow, and sugar pines, have, in their full maturity, a 



FROM THE WEST. 219 

diameter of from ten to twelve feet, and such is their 
height and the elegance of their proportions, that they 
have all the appearance of being slender. Nothing can 
exceed the grace of their smooth, tapering columns, not 
crowding upon each other, but standing apart as the 
pillars of a temple ; the boles of the yellow pine beauti- 
fully marked with a pattern resembling that on the back 
of a tortoise ; the bark of the sugar pine showing a blue 
bloom like the surface of a ripe plum; and the more deeply 
corrugated Douglas pines and cedars, ruddy as with an 
inward fire. The autumn colour of the oaks, and the 
cotton and dogwood trees, together with the various 
brushwood, had deepened upon the heights we had 
reached this day, and showed red and purple and gold 
about the feet of the great conifers, and against the 
cerulean depths of far-off forests. Valleys and hills, awful 
precipices and frowning summits, stretched beyond this 
rich foreground as far as the eye could reach — wave upon 
wave of a verdant ocean, not barren as the sea, but 
rejoicing in a self-sown harvest of incalculable price. 

Towards noon I began again to forget that I was weary 
and sick. I imagine that persons with spirits, more 
fervent than their frames are strong, would always find 
it difficult to follow the Apostle in his apostrophy to the 
warring powers of which his manhood was composed j 
the " flesh " being with such too much under control of 
the spirit to admit of the sense of duality. The hint 
of such a state of things, which I now experienced in 
the recoil of the nerves, in face of the abrupt features 
of the mountain road, side by side with the delicious 



220 FLYING LEAVES. 

ecstasy, into which the great sweep of the lines and the 
glory of the colour had thrown me, was something of 
a new sensation; but the body was made to know its 
place, and its very protests came at length to impart an 
element as of sensuous delight to the mental intoxication. 
In all that we had yet seen of beauty or wonder on the 
American continent, I at least, had felt a certain sense of 
separation ; it had been to me as a chance acquaintance 
with whom it had been welcome to meet, and not too 
painful to part. Widely different was my feeling with 
regard to these mountains and valleys which were covered 
with the "forest primaeval." It was probably more 
foreign to actual experience than anything I had seen as 
yet ; but how strangely familiar, how almost home-like it 
was to inward consciousness ! In the great upward 
reaches of its sunny glades, in its summits shrouded with 
pines, in the silence of its mysterious depths as in the 
voice and sparkle of its waters, I recognized the dream- 
land of my childhood. It was here, by the side of these 
divergent forest tracks, that the Princess had sat to con- 
sider of her way when the Yellow Dwarf had met her, and 
as the price of his guidance had bound round her finger 
the fatal ring. It was yonder, on that height rising so 
densely dark on the other side of the chasm, that the 
valiant Prince had carved his way to deliver the Sleeping 
Beauty. How many a nameless preux chevalier of the 
youthful imagination had ratified his oath of service 
beneath the vast columns of this incomparable temple, 
and ridden on his way armed against the evil beasts and 
wicked spirits of some portions of the path, with the 



FROM THE WEST. 221 

sunlight glittering on his spurs. It was a very bath of 
nature, of primitive, soul-renewing, fancy-inspiring nature, 
into which our spirits were plunged that day, and they 
grew young and glad, bold and careless of the future, in 
the process. 

It was a fortunate thing that the "curiosity" with 
which we had been charged by our friend at Manitou, 
could with scant justice have been said to enter 
into our enjoyment of these scenes, for the gratifi- 
cation of any such sentiment met with more than the 
usual difficulty. Not a strange flower or shrub of those 
which had here a local habitation, could we learn to 
associate with a name. The American bride was fond 
of discovering resemblances and hazarding suggestions 
botanical and geological which hovered between the 
pedantic and the sentimental ; but not even of our 
mulatto driver could we get categorical answers to the 
few questions we were induced to put. The only thing 
of which he seemed sure was that the shrubby growth 
which for wide tracts made a carpet of fresh green 
beneath the pines, was known in the vernacular as bear- 
brush. The creeks we passed and the little bridges, all 
things connected with the road, he had at his fingers 
ends ; but the rest seemed to him, as indeed in this might- 
be perilous path it was^ comparatively of small account. 

Well for us that our spirits were content to float, so to 
say, and lose themselves in vague and ignorant delight, 
the mind led on by the varied planes of distance and the 
graduated scale of the trees until you felt as if you filled 
the forest with your dilated being. Possibly the forest 



222 FLYING LEAVES. 

road was better than that across the prairie ; possibly we 
were learning to keep our seats steadier by balance; 
more likely the ups and downs of the trail were felt as a 
relief; certain it is that we thought less of the shaking 
this second day than we had done at starting. But not- 
withstanding this alleviation, the beauty of the scene, 
and the enlarged sense of existence, the last fifteen miles 
of our journey before we reached Inspiration Point, 
seemed long. The American lady was very brave, and 
talked about strata and cataclysms, pistils and stamen to 
the last. But the little English wife of a year and a half, 
had been tossed upon the Atlantic and the Pacific, and 
knocked about the world from Australia to China and 
Japan, too long. She was dying to exercise what was 
evidently a strong natural bias for housekeeping at 
home ; this desultory life had become a weariness to 
spirit and flesh, and her aches and pains very naturally 
found utterance. I hardly think the forest said as much 
to her as it did to the rest of us in different ways — she 
wanted to concentrate, not to spread herself abroad ; 
the supports for back and feet, supplied by an anxious 
husband, had become ineffectual ; the repeated inquiries 
concerning her state, and the tributes of flowers and 
cones she was called upon to carry, a little importunate. 
The American husband beguiled the way to us all by 
glimpses of a wilder life than that which still pertained 
to the forest ; experiences of five and twenty years ago, 
when he had been " prospecting " for the precious metals 
in this district. The trail along which we were passing 
had at that time had no existence, the red man had been 



FROM THE WEST. 223 

everywhere at home, and not altogether hospitable to 
the white intruder. 

The first, much-vaunted view of Yosemite Valley from 
Inspiration Point, carried with it a measure of disap- 
pointment. The eye, from travelling over the vast sweeps 
of distance, had become vagabond and disinclined to 
settle. After the long stretches and the unbroken swing 
of the lines of forest-covered mountain and valley, this 
green strath, hollowed like a cradle in the brute rock ; 
sunk, a richly lined casket holding the river of Mercy 
like a diamond necklace in its depths, seemed cribbed 
and confined. But a wondrous glade it is, and by what 
words may I better convey a notion of it to those who 
may not see for themselves. The valley through which 
the eye sweeps at this point is seven miles long, and 
averages about one in breadth, being richly wooded in 
its entire length. It is as if the earth had known some 
strange depression, some sinking of the heart at this 
spot, which had carried a portion of the forest to a depth 
of a thousand feet from the surrounding level, leaving 
the cloven rocks as awful ramparts about its Arcadian 
loveliness, ramparts which nothing living could overleap 
but only the bright waters of the mountain torrents 
beaten into foam before they reached the bottom. 

If we failed to appreciate this first gHmpse of the 
Yosemite, as we afterwards learnt to do, it is that we 
came upon it in that afternoon hour, about two o'clock, 
which has the property of making mountains look their 
oldest and most wrinkled, and, at the same time, their 
least venerable. The prosaic sunlight of the small hours 



224 FLYING LEAVES. 

of the day was riddling it from end to end, and thus it 
was that the platform from which we looked down upon 
it failed on that occasion to justify its name. After a 
pause of a few minutes, we began a descent steeper and 
more perilous than that of the evening before ; but the 
conduct of the reins in the hands of our mulatto was so 
superlatively skilful, that we consigned our lives to his 
keeping without a shadow of fear. 

We soon came to the spot known as ''Artist's Point," 
and all agreed in thinking that the painters had made a 
better selection than that which might be supposed to have 
been choice of the poets. It was an abrupt curve upon 
which we did not pause, but went zigzagging down at a 
fiery pace; until after we had been bowling along the 
level floor of the valley for a time, we drew up on the 
bridge which commands a view of the waterfall, known to 
the Indians as the " Spirit of the Evil Wind," and now 
called by the white man — let us hope not in irony — the 
"Bridal Veil." Immediately opposite the fall is the 
magnificent bluff, a sheer wall of rock 3300 feet in 
height, which has received the name of El Capitan. The 
fall itself makes a plunge of 900 feet, which is a trifle more 
than that of the Staubach in the Berner Oberland. The 
term plunge, however, does not well express the character 
of its descent, as we saw it on the ist of November, after 
a long continuance of dry weather. Its waters were then 
falling deliberately over their smooth ledge, and their 
filmy mass gave one the idea of being shaken out, played 
with, and caught up into folds by an invisible hand, while 
exhibiting in their changing surface a pattern like that of 



FROM THE WEST. 225 

watered silk. The mighty pines which find a footing in 
the rock, the tawny oaks, and bushes of many-tinted 
azahas, made a rich frame for this loveliest of waterfalls. 
The road passed through one continuous grove of stately 
trees, those which from the height had looked like the 
toys of a child's Noah's Ark, proving to be majestic 
specimens of the various conifera indigenous to this 
wonderful soil. But it is the high and jagged cliffs 
which bound this trough-like valley, that constitute its 
most distinctive feature. We cast up wondering glances 
at the Three Brothers, the Cathedral Spires, the Sentinel 
Rock, that called the Standpoint of Silence, and the 
North and South Domes, as they were pointed out by 
the American gentleman and our driver, both well up in 
the fantastic nomenclature of the more prominent objects. 
The air was colder in the valley than it had been upon 
the heights from which we had descended, and had a 
sort of damp freshness from the neighbourhood of many 
waterfalls. The river murmured over its bed at our 
side, or spread itself abroad, reflecting as in a larger and 
calmer mood all the wonder and beauty with which it 
was surrounded. 

Two or more hotels were passed before that one called 
Bernard's, which has decidedly the choicest situation, was 
reached. We thought ourselves fortunate in being bound 
for this last, but indeed we had no choice, as the others 
were closed for the season. The aspect of the house is 
made pleasant by the piazza which surrounds it ; the 
river flows immediately at the back, and the Yosemite 
Fall takes its double leap of 2634 feet at some distance 

Q 



226 FLYING LEAVES. 

in the rear. In the front and to either side are magni- 
ficent views of the rocky walls of the valley, and rich, 
and now as we first see it in the slanting beams of the 
sun, glowing combinations of woodland and river. 

Here we are glad to find rest and shelter for a time, 
and are fain to be content with such food as we can 
find to repair the waste of our much-enduring frames. 



( 227 ) 



LEAF XIV. 

AFTER a nondescript meal and a brief est I set 
forth with E for a walk to the Yosemite Falls, 

but owing to the immensity of the features, the distance 
was deceptive, and having taken the wrong path, we 
were retracing our steps when we were met by two men 
in a buggy which was shown by the advertisement in big 
letters on its side to be that of a photographer. The 
vehicle drew up, and one of the men, seeing the state 
of the case, set us right about the way in a few succinct 
words. The fine, energetic head, with dark eyebrows 
and flowing white locks, and the serviceable expres- 
sion of our informant, were remarkable ; and no less so 
in this place, the strong, pure accent of the English in 
which he addressed us. But we did not on this occasion 
profit by his guidance; the path beside the Merced 
River, bordered by trees, looked so very inviting, that 
we recrossed the bridge in order to pursue it. 

The evening was advancing as we walked towards the 
Domes, still touched with light at the end of the valley. 
The sun had set to us, but his beams were strongly 
reflected from the highest peaks, while behind us the 
moon, which was nearly at its full, had risen. The scene 



228 FLYING LEAVES. 

was one of rare beauty, and it grew ever more solemn 
and impressive as the shadows deepened in the hollows 
of the cliifs, and the wavering effects of the mingling 
lights added mystery. We met an old Indian on the 
banks of the stream, and stopped to talk with him. He 
had been fishing and showed us the trout he had caught, 
some half-dozen of small size which he was taking to 
market at our hotel. We pursued our walk, picking 
flowers as we went, and lured onwards by the loveliness 
of the seen and the curiosity of the unseen which lay 
beyond. It was something more than dusk when we 
heard the thud of horses' hoofs behind us, and turning, 
saw two Indians riding in single file, each with his gun 
across his saddle-bow ; and tramping after them five or 
six squaws, old and young, with pappooses and bigger 
children, and little wiry horses laden with their effects. 
It is difficult fully to realize that a matter of a dozen 
years or so count for so much in this New World, and 
therefore the treacherous character attributed to the 
Indians in the tales of blood which had made our flesh 
creep by the way, came back to me now with something 
of undue force. I felt that we had penetrated far enough 
these lonely and unknown ways. Retracing our steps, 
we met the wild-looking procession in face. One of the 
riders, a handsome youth, came up and addressed us in 
his Indian speech, the word " tabac," which he was 
evidently begging of us, being the only one we understood. 
After supper we crossed over in the glorious moon- 
light to the salon in Big-tree House, a little erection 
opposite to the hotel, which contains two sitting-rooms, 



FROM THE WEST. 229 

one of them enclosing the bole of a living cedar spread- 
ing its branches far up into the air beyond its roof. It 
was a happy idea to respect this tree, which, although no 
larger than many of its neighbours, and in no way related 
to the " big trees " — the Sequoias of the Mariposa and 
Calaveras Groves, and of King's river, — measures thirty 
odd feet in circumference, and is eight feet in diameter 
at a yard from its base. Seeing a tree in such a 
condition one learns to appreciate the sum of the forces 
which go to the production of these stupendous forests 

In the first salon^ that where the tree was not, we found 
our English companions very busy with unexpected 
friends, a party of young men whom they had met in 
their travels in China. The effect of the further room 
was strikingly original. A huge chimney with an open 
hearth, and dog-irons on which what would have been 
elsewhere a respectably sized tree was blazing, sent its 
fitful illumination up to the low roof, lighting up a group 
of persons playing cards about the duller flame of an oil 
lamp, and brought ever and anon into strong relief the 
dark bole of the living cedar surrounded by a border 
of oats or some other cereal, which, grown out of the 
sunlight, looked lurid in the brilliant deficacy of its hue. 

It was with a confident assurance of coming pleasure 
and profit that we recognized the gentleman who had so 
clearly prescribed our best course to the waterfall. Our 
expectations were abundantly realized. Nothing could 
have been more weli^me than the flood of information 
touching the discovery and settlement of the valley, all 
come at from springs sunk upon the spot, with which our 



230 FLYING LEAVES. 

new acquaintance regaled us. It was soon clear that 
our good fortune had introduced us to one who, if not its 
original discoverer, was the pioneer who first made its 
rare claim of beauty known to the world. 

Mr. J. M. Hutchings is an Englishman who emigrated 
to the States in his youth. He seems to have a long past 
behind him, and I believe is quite an old man ; but there is 
little sign of age in his tall, nervous, and erect frame, none 
in his clear eyes and genial voice. If he has arrived at 
what D'Israeli has called his " anecdotage," so much the 
better for those who have the advantage of listening to him, 
for he possesses both tact and style. The last thirty years 
of his life had been passed as the guardian, under Govern- 
ment, of the Yosemite Valley, a post from which we were 
informed a piece of political jobbery had recently ousted 
him, much to the regret of the neighbours. To say that 
every tree was known to him was nothing ; he appeared 
to be acquainted with every bush, almost with every blade. 
He gave us a graphic account of his first appearance 
upon the scene of the Yosemite, which I shall try to 
reproduce as it fell from him. I cannot think of the 
words without seeing in my mind's eye the fine head, 
the ruddy blaze behind it lighting the white hair, and 
the dark eyes flashing out of the shadows that fell upon 
the face. I am sorry that the raciness imparted to his 
tale by its manner of delivery must be hopelessly lost. 
He had begun by giving us some capital sporting scenes 
from the neighbourhood, and tales of his canine 
favourites, when I took advantage of a pause to ask him, 
" How did you first become acquainted with this valley ? " 



FROM THE WEST. 23 1 

It will be seen that I collared my man as if I had been 
an interviewing reporter. The keen eyes glanced from 
one to the other of us, as if to gauge the extent of our 
appetite for information. Then Mr. Hutchings stretched 
his long limbs, settled himself in his chair, and half 
closed his eyes as he began to gather and to pour out 
his recollections. 



232 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF XV. 

" T T was in the year 1849," said the old pioneer, '' that 
X the name Yosemite first reached my ear. The 
gold fever had broken out at the time, and was bringing 
men to California from all parts of the civilized world ; 
so that camps of white men were being formed and 
settlements made where hitherto the Indian had thought 
all the earth his own. Not quite that either, for know- 
ledge had reached them of the fatality which attends the 
Red man's contact with the white, and a flutter of evil 
portent ran through all the tribes of the forest and the 
country round at the first sight of the intruders. The 
Indians at that day had ' runners,' as indeed they have 
still, who keep them informed of the movements of the 
whites ; but while they knew from what had happened 
elsewhere what was likely to follow these incursions of 
the gold-seekers, they did not yet fully realize the 
weight of the destiny that bore upon them. The native 
still thought that by a system of covert attack, and 
harassing depredation, he might make the region, the 
white man was so coolly invading, too hot in the end to 
hold him. 

*' Well, blood had been shed on either side, and worse 



FROM THE WEST. 233 

seemed certain to follow, when the United States 
Government sent out a detachment of soldiers under 
Captain Bulten, with orders to hunt the Indians up. 
They scoured the forest up and down without lighting 
upon a single skin of them. It was no part of the 
Indian plan to engage in open battle. At last the whites 
got wind in some way of the red men having gathered 
in force in a valley sunk in the very heart of the 
primaeval wilderness — a hiding-place protected by the 
labyrinth of pathless forest in which they believed them- 
selves safe from pursuit. How the United States men 
came to light upon that valley I never heard. It might 
have been treachery ; more likely it was chance. The 
orders they had were to kill no more Indians than they 
could help, but to capture as many as possible, and carry 
them off to the Reservations. There were a good many 
of them collected in the Yosemite, as has been said. The 
Yosemite Indians in themselves were a powerful tribe, 
and they had been joined by others. Well, the poor 
devils made such stand as was possible ; but they had 
no guns in those days, and, seeing the hopelessness of the 
situation, after a brief fight of it they surrendered ; and 
Captain Bulten, well pleased with the result, marched off 
down the valley towards the cascades, with a force very 
little diminished, and a goodly array of braves as 
prisoners in their midst. Night coming on while the 
party were still in the valley, they encamped; and hospit- 
ably sharing their tobacco, though not their schnaps, 
with the Indians who had shown themselves so well able 
to understand reason, they smoked together the pipe of 



234 FLYING LEAVES. 

peace, and then lay down to rest. The white men, with 
their hands upon their rifles, surrounded the captives as 
the penfold surrounds the sheep. They had done their 
duty, obeyed orders to the letter, had taken prisoners, 
and spared life, and were sleeping very naturally the 
sleep of the just. In the morning when they opened their 
eyes, the space inside the ring formed by their prostrate 
bodies, was empty, not a sound to be heard but the 
murmur of the Merced river, the soft plash of the 
distant fall, and the chatter of the jays over their own 
business. The Indians had slipped off in the night, and 
were gone up the Indian Canon; there wasn't a red- 
skin left in the valley." 

"They kept their own counsel," said one of the 
listeners, breaking into the pause which gave expression 
to this blank announcement. "These dogs of Indians 
are cunning as they can be — treacherous, too. I heard 
but the other day of some young fellows who had been 
kindly received by them, slept in their tents, and who 
were scalp " 

But the scalps did not come off this time. I had 
made up my mind to listen to but one speaker, and 
interrupted the operation with a repetition of my 
question to the pioneer, " But how came you to hear of 
the Yosemite Valley ? " 

" I heard of it from Bulten's men, after their return 
from this expedition," he answered. " They were relating 
their experiences ; I had come from San Francisco, 
and was prospecting for gold. They said they had 
found the Indians, the lot of them, in ' a pretty little 



FROM THE WEST. 235 

valley cut Into the rock, and with waterfalls rushing into 
it a thousand feet at a leap.' Bulten's men didn't make 
much of it : 'a pretty little valley, with jets of water of 
a thousand feet without a break.' It was just in the 
way of business to them, but to me the description 
seemed to stick. It came back to me at night : ' A 
waterfall of a thousand feet.' Why, Niagara is only 
sixty-four. The fact — and I knew it was a fact, or near 
it, for the measurements had been taken in due form — got 
to haunt me ; and the end of it was, I made up my mind 
that, come what might, next spring I'd have a look for 
myself at the Yosemite. And I did so, though I'd a 
hard enough task to find it. I was told there was a 
man living somewhere in the forest of the name of 
Robinson, the oldest white inhabitant, and that if any 
white knew anything about Yosemite, he it was. 

" My first business was naturally to find Robinson, and 
it wasn't successful. I came upon his log cabin after a 
hunt ; but he wasn't there — killed by Indians or bears, 
no one knew which, but not a bone of him left, and 
the place deserted. After that I was directed to a man 
who had a ranche some five miles further west. 

" ' I want you to guide me to Yosemite Valley,' 
said I. 

"'Guide you to the devil!' returned the man. Ha, 
ha ! " laughed the narrator. "'The devil ' came out with 
a yawn, the poor fellow was so sleepy. ' I've been on 
watch two nights,' he said, ' and I'm darned if I under- 
take to do anything but sleep for the next three days. 
But there's Tom George a mile away down on the other 



236 FLYING LEAVES. 

side of the Creek — a trapper, as well acquainted with 
the forest here as any man alive ; if there's any such 
place, he'll have heard of it, and mebbe he'll know where 
to find it.' 

" I wasn't in luck that day," continued Mr. Hutchings, 
evidently enjoying the recollection of his past troubles, 
revived in their relation to willing ears in this pleasant 
interior. " I knocked up Tom George, but I found the 
trapper in worse plight than the farmer. 

" ' What the cuss is it you're wanting ? ' he said, as he 
opened a chink of the door. 

" I told him my need. 

" ' Well, you're come to the wrong shop, anyhow. I'm 
just blind with a sick headache ; and I wish I was deaf, 
for your damned knocking has broken in the top o' my 
brain-pan. Now, you may or you may not know what's 
the like of a sick headache ; but if you do, you'll under- 
stand that there's no place for your head under the cir- 
cumstances but a pillow — if so be that you've got one ; 
and if you don't, I wish you may learn it, that's all ! ' 
And he shut the door in my face, and retired, as I 
hoped, without absolute assurance, to the only comfort 
which his case admitted of. 

" My next appeal was to the tenant of a hut that I 
passed on my way to the clearing where ' Clarke's ' now 
stands. 

" ' Could you show me the way to the Yosemite 
Valley ? ' 

" ' The Yosemite valley ! ' was the bewildered reply. 
* I live two miles from the town there ' (he meant the 



FROM THE WEST. 237 

few houses at Mariposa) ; ' but if I was set to find my 
way to it after dusk, I should lose the trail.' 

" That was number four of my vain attempts at guid- 
ance — and I made six in all with like unsuccess — and 
had all but lost heart, when I was recommended to try 
my luck of a man who kept a general store, and had 
in it, among other miscellaneous articles, a couple of 
Indian wives. I laid my request before him. He knew 
of the valley, and knew there had once been a trail to 
it from thereabouts, but was sure it was now grown over, 
and irrecoverable by any but Indians, if recoverable by 
them. He consulted, however, with the dark ladies, and 
the upshot of it was, that the accommodating couple 
were able to lay their hands on a brace of brothers or 
cousins, Indians of their own diminished tribe, able and 
willing to act as pathfinders. 

" I started in their company the following morning. I 
had heard of the unerring instinct of these red-skins, but 
none the less was it a surprise to me to see it in exercise. 
It was a display of natural power, an ability to cope 
with external facts, a sharpening of the senses, a rapidity 
of induction, which I felt went far to compensate for 
the absence of book knowledge. Alone in the forest I 
should have been as dazed and helpless as a lost baby 
in a market-place. At twenty yards from the store there 
was no sign of a path that I could make out in any 
direction ; but my Indian guides went right ahead ; they 
hit the trail as if they had been bloodhounds on a fresh 
scent, and were never at a loss for a moment. Up hill 
and down dale, crossing or following the course of a 



238 FLYING LEAVES. 

Stream, skirting huge boulders that blocked the way, 
clearing a path through brushwood which, while it 
opened for them seemed to close for me, they kept 
on their steady course. For mile upon mile we had 
passed under trees, great smooth boles of yellow or 
sugar pine, as like each other as the masts of ships ; but 
the black eyes which just moved in their orbits, with 
God knows what other senses to aid them, took in a 
difference, and from sunrise to sundown we never came 
to a check. It was evening when they brought up at 
Old Inspiration Point — a finer site, by the way, than 
the new one which you have seen. The shadows were 
already lying thick in the valley, but the great Domes 
were afire in the sunset, pink upon the pale mauve of 
the sky. It was spring, and the fresh sward, cleft by the 
river, and studded with the pines and cedars which 
seemed to have gone plump down from the forest with 
the sunk floor of the valley, swept green and soft at 
the base of the cliffs throughout its entire length. 

" That, thirty-four years ago, was my first sight of this 
place, which has ever since been my home. Summer 
or winter, I find no more need to change it than the 
squirrels do. We didn't stop long at the ' Point ; ' the 
Indians went working their way, zigzagging down the 
steep, at that time, pathless rock, like a couple of cats, 
and I followed in the best style I could. And that," 
concluded the pioneer, " is how I came to the Yose- 
mite ; tired and foot-sore for the nonce, and very glad 
of a shake-down within hearing of these falls, which 
have ever since made my cradle song." 



FROM THE WEST. 



239 



Not every one of the small audience of three or four 
was so well qualified for the role of mere listener as 
myself, my own voice having failed me from fatigue ; and 
an attempt was here again made on the part of one of 
the others to take the running. 

"There were some bloody deeds committed by the 
Yosemite Indians upon the whites, when " 

" Mr. Hutchings will tell us," I suggested. I was equal 
to about four words at a breath, and had no mind to put 
up with hearsay statements, when we could get informa- 
tion from a living witness. 

" The Yosemite Indians were nowhere by that time," 
answered the pioneer. " I and the two of the tribe who 
had brought me, had the valley to ourselves." 

" How so ? — killed by the white men ? " 

"No, exterminated by each other; all but eight of 
their braves, and about double that number of squaws 
and children, who had escaped and scattered themselves 
for safety." 

" How did that happen ? " 

" Why, when the Yosemite Indians who had allowed 
themselves to be taken prisoners by Captain Bulten 
escaped, they went straight to the Piutes, who hospitably 
received them, sharing part and lot, suffering them to 
abide in their tents and shoot over their hunting-grounds 
till such times as they might see it safe to return to their 
own. They provided for them in this way throughout 
the winter, and when with the first breath of spring, 
about six weeks before the date of my coming, the Yose- 
mites returned, the Piute warriors went forth upon a 



240 FLYING LEAVES. 

raid, and made a great haul of cattle and horses, which 
they brought back to their encampment on the heights 
yonder, the other side of the valley. No sooner had 
the Yosemites — their late guests, mind you — got nose of 
this, than they watched for a day when the Piute 
warriors would be again upon the war-path to steal 
up to their encampment, and carry off some of the booty 
and a couple or more of the Piute squaws. It was this 
treachery and ingratitude which brought upon them 
their doom. The Piutes came down in the dead of 
the night by the Indian Canon — the same the Yose- 
mites had gone up by (it's a steep narrow gully in a 
fold of the sheer rock ; you'll see it to-morrow on your 
way to the Mirror Lake) — came down just as noiselessly 
as a stream over a bed of moss, not the knick of a stone 
or the crack of a branch to be heard, and fell upon 
the false Yosemites while they were asleep. And that," 
said the old pioneer, " is the true tale of the ruin of the 
tribe. It had happened but a few weeks when I spent 
my first night in the valley, scarcely a stone's throw from 
the scene of the massacre." 

So potent is the charm of a pleasant living voice and 
genial presence, that it will hardly be believed how much 
we liked those Indian stories, and others about dogs 
and bears that had preceded them, all told within sight 
of the *' big tree ; " but I had had two days of forest 
journeying, which for a poor white-skinned woman had 
been long and hard, and I was fain to betake myself 
to bed. 

When E and I passed from the warm yellow glow 



FROM THE WEST. 24 1 

to the sheeted moonhght without, the scene was so 
magically beautiful that it beguiled me of my weariness, 
and we were unable to resist taking a little turn down 
the valley. The rime lay white and glittering upon the 
ground, not a breath stirred the branches of the great 
trees, and in the profound stillness, the different planes 
of distance sharply defined — all unessential details lost 
in the silvery light and brooding shadows — the whole 
had something of the unreal effect of a theatrical 
decoration. The incidents of this wonderful landscape 
are indeed more dramatic than are elsewhere to be 
seen gathered together in so close a unity. The im- 
posing scale of the vegetation, the vastness of the rock- 
wall that shuts it in, the deeply accentuated character 
of the cliffs, the river that grows hushed and awed as 
if to double the image at its most striking points, are 
things which in their perfect combination leave upon 
the mind that sense of appeasement which accompanies 
the ultimate triumphs of nature or art. The mosque- 
like Domes which shut the valley in, were gleaming 
white upon an indigo sky when we turned ; and even the 
piazza and verandah-surrounded buildings, with the little 
red eye of a window which told of human habitation and 
watchfulness, were not unwelcome features in a solitude 
which might otherwise have been overwhelming. 

The young English wife, Mrs. C , had not hesitated 

to make her intentions clear to her anxious spouse. She 
had reached Yosemite Valley with heroic effort, and having 
gained that advanced post on the borders of civilization, 
she intended to rest there quietly on her laurels. To 

R 



242 FLYING LEAVES. 

no proposition that implied the slightest unnecessary 
expenditure of vital force would she listen. Her 
" Caro " might go wherever inclination and a prudent 
use of strength permitted ; but she had a rocking-chair, 
and she had books, and by them she would abide. I, 
too, saw my better part in remaining among the satisfy- 
ing surroundings of the Hotel Bernard, and letting the 
lovely environment soak into me, rather than in running 
after fresh impressions. We, however, both yielded so 
far as to accompany our husbands and the American 
couple the following morning, in a short carriage ex- 
pedition to the Mirror Lake, which they took in a 
detour on their way to the trail at the foot of Glacier 
Point which they were to ascend on horseback. 

Every portion of this valley is enchanting; its great 
features presenting themselves in the course of a drive, 
in continual variety of combination. The Mirror Lake, 
in its delicate loveliness, would be a suitable haunt for 
fairies, if such fragile creatures could be thought of in 
the presence of these immensities. One of the rocks 
which borders this lake rises to a height of five thousand 
feet above its surface, and is covered with such fantastic 
hieroglyphics, that if we had lent ourselves to it, all our 
time would have been taken from more legitimate enjoy- 
ment in following the similitudes of birds and beasts and 
fishes, of clothes hung out to dry, and in one place, of 
a gigantic human form into which the whole was sup- 
posed to resolve itself. Leaving the geological lady to 
add to her store of information, we forbore to attend 
this lecture of the guide, and, wandering off in contented 



FROM THE WEST. 243 

ignorance, had the pleasure of greeting the sun as he 
rose above the diff, and took a first view of himself in 
his wonderful looking-glass. We had come prepared for 
the sight, and were watching the moment in the gradual 
lighting of the heavens as seen over the crown of the 
mountain in the lake. Then there came the hair-like 
rays, then a star broke the surface of the mirror, growing 
brighter and broader till the whole luminous disc was 
reflected, and our eyes were glad to seek rest for a 
moment, while our feet were employed in reaching a new 
point of observation from which the phenomenon would 
be repeated. 

The American lady had met with a slight accident in 
descending from the carriage, but her cheerful courage 
was not to be shaken, and she insisted on following out 
her plan of sharing the expedition to Glacier Point with 
the gentlemen, and that notwithstanding that she had 
never before been on horseback. 

The mount of the party in a grove to which the 
horses and mules had been sent to meet us, was duly 

accomphshed, and Mrs. C and I, both tolerably 

experienced horsewomen, watched the train disappear 
up the glen with a slight sense that we were not coming 
out very strongly under the circumstances. She, how- 
ever, asserted herself by taking possession of me at once 
— it was a consolation in the absence of her husband 
— and surrounded me with all manner of pretty atten- 
tions, having found out with characteristic quickness the 
beginnings of a cold that I had been bent on hiding 
as long as possible. 



244 FLYING LEAVES. 

We met a party of Indians, in single file as usual, 
men and horses, squaws and children ; the men mounted, 
the weaker vessels trudging after them with their 
pappooses on their backs. It was a glimpse of the 
golden age ! 



( 245 ) 



LEAF XVI. 

A LITTLE later I set off on foot with my pleasant 
companion for the Yosemite Falls, which we 
reached in due time, and where we sat, enjoying the 
scene in a silence which the deep roar of the falls made 
imperative on my part. For, alas ! there was no mistake 
about it, I found out the fact as I sat there upon a big 
stone, steeped as we were in the glorious sunshine, — I 
was stricken in a manner with which I was too familiar, 
and had entered at an inopportune moment on the long 
period of mutism which accompanies and abides after a 
feverish cold. Unfortunately I had not got the witness 
of a good conscience, for I had been beguiled by the 
moonlight of the night before, into treading that rimy 
path in the silk shoes I had put on for comfort, and 

thus had brought anxiety upon E which might 

have been spared him. I trusted to the new climate 
to work a miracle in my favour, and for the next few 
days devoted Spartan efforts to not being " found out." 

The " trippers " returned, and were greeted with such 
an ardent show of curiosity in regard to all that had 
befallen them, as encouraged full description, in which 
the failure of a single voice was less observable. The 



246 FLYING LEAVES. 

Indians we had met had overtaken them, and had last 
been seen, men, women and horses, old and young, 
ascending with sure steps, without haste or halt, a very 

narrow precipitous trail over the mountain. Mrs. M 

had borne up bravely with her bruised ankle, but neither 
she or her husband felt incHned to join the two other 
gentlemen in their excursion to Eagle Point the follow- 
ing day. As for me, I took advantage of their early 
start to nurse my cold in bed during the forenoon, being 

most affectionately cared for by Mrs. C , who waited 

in her room, which opened upon the piazza next door 
to ours, in order to take my breakfast-tray from the 
negro waiter, and bring it in to me, her own fair self 
I felt all the happier for being tended by so engaging 
a Hebe. 

It was well for me that I had already taken in ineffac- 
able impressions of the valley, for I was destined to see 
little more of it. Excepting for the consciousness that 
came even through closed eyes, of the loveliness of the 
environment, it was not a nice place to be ill in. Not 
to speak of the impossibility of getting timely aid from 
either doctors or medicaments, the food supplied at 
Bernard's was absolutely rebutting to a dainty palate. 
The difficulty of catering adequately for the table is 
necessarily great in a place like this ; and the season 
being now far advanced, and the guests few, and those 
few unexpected, the efforts to meet these difficulties had 
naturally been relaxed. Hitherto the staff of life, in 
any part a little remote, had been to me not bread, but 
milk ; now that was cut from under me. There was but 



FROM THE WEST. 247 

one cow left in the valley, and the portion of its pro- 
duce that fell to any individual was of course small, 
when looked upon as constituting a chief article of diet. 
Withal I contrived to join in one long drive before 
we left, that which is here known as the *' round trip." 
It is a tour right through the valley, down to the cas- 
cades at its south-western end. We took the right bank 
of the river from Barnard's in going, and returned by 
the left, having the great advantage of Mr. Hutchings' 
company by the way. We got out at a small encamp- 
ment of " Digger " Indians — so called from their living 
not so much by hunting or fishing as upon roots. 
They count among the lowest of the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants, their way of life being little calculated to develop 
intelligence. Their huts, consisting of a few converging 
planks, are formed with less art than the nests of most 
birds. On the other hand, their utensils — culinary and 
other — exhibit considerable ingenuity. We saw bowls 
of reeds so closely woven that they were completely 
water-tight. An old woman was the sole guardian of 
this primitive hamlet at the time of our visit. She was 
squatting on the ground, rubbing away with a brush 
made of the fibrous stem of some native plant, at one of 
the plaited bowls, and looked up as we approached with 
a not unkindly glance. Dressed in rags and begrimed 
with dirt, it was a sordid life for a human creature to be 
enduring. Unlike the younger women of the tribe, or 
the men for that matter, her hair was cropped at about 
four inches from her head, and, drooping from her crown 
like a bristling thatch, was as thickly sown with white as 



248 FLYING LEAVES. 

the fur of the silver fox. A dog that lay near her in the 
sun, received us with a low growl, objecting apparently 
to our clean clothes, whereupon the Indian woman 
admonished him with a stone which she gathered from 
the ground, and an interjection in the native speech. I 
hardly liked to see her faithful friend thus dealt with in 
the interest of aliens. 

The drive under the conduct of Mr. Hutchings, in the 
perfect weather, amid ever-changing scenes, was a delight 
throughout ; but the flitting of all the Indians save the 
Diggers, whose dwelling was permanent, had warned our 
hosts of the danger of being snowed in ; and it had been 
arranged with us that we should vacate the Yosemite 
together the following day. As Clarke's had had its artist 
from the Yellowstone Park, the Yosemite Valley had 
a painter of its own. This gentleman, with his wife and 
child, had shared with the people at Barnard's a table 
contiguous to that of our own travelling party at meals, 
and it chancing that our conversation at supper this day 
turned on the reconstruction of the House of Lords, he 
leaned back, listening to it .with a darkening face. As 
the neighbouring party broke up he paused beside our 
table, and exploded the following words at us with 
crushing effect — 

" Has it ever occurred to you, gentlemen, that while 
you in your old country are labouring to pull down 
institutions, we, in our new one, are striving to build 
them up ? " There was so much contained heat in the 
tone in which this query was put, and the questioner 
looked so deadly pale, that no one was sufficiently 



FROM THE WEST. 249 

recovered from the surprise of its suddenness to answer 
it until his slow and heavy tread was heard echoing 
through the silence that supervened. 

Although the artist, and one or two other men, had 
preceded us on the way next morning, it was a crowded 
coach into which some dozen of us were packed, almost 
up to the chin, too, as it was with our heterogeneous 
belongings. There were members of the Barnard family, 
and a little Jewish maiden, their visitor ; and there was 
the artist's wife and their little girl, the latter of whom 
seemed to have swallowed quicksilver. Then there was 
a pet dog much averse to involuntary motion, and who 
showed his dislike by continual counter-movement; and, 
last of all, there was a chipmuck enclosed in a bag that 
had to be looked at every ten minutes for fear he should 
be breathing his last. The two children were my oppo- 
site neighbours, and as we mounted the precipitous 
incline, their continuous pressure against my knees was 
only broken by an occasional jerk which hurled them 
forcibly into my lap. Upon the level ground above 
they went to sleep, overcome by dust and heat, and 
used the convenience of any person that happened to be 
within reach for a pillow. I had been tired enough 
when I arrived at the Yosemite to lose my voice, but it was 
this journey back from it that was the real tug, and I 
was out of condition for the encounter. 

After the stage of forty-six miles to Clarke's, there 
were the "big trees" of Mariposa Grove to be visited 
— seventeen miles there and back. When we got 
down, half dead, at this forest station, Mrs. C re- 



250 FLYING LEAVES. 

fused to budge for any sight that the universe had to 

offer. Mrs. M , who was really ill, and suffering 

pain from a finger which it was supposed had been 
poisoned by some noxious plant, was heroic as ever, 
and resolved to proceed after brief refreshment. The 
''taking in" of food under our present conditions was 
really more like the unpleasant duty of " coaling " a 
ship than any addition to the sum of daily enjoyments. 
As for me, it was in vain that E begged me to con- 
sider of the case, and to forego the Mariposa Grove drive 
if the risk was too great He was clearly as anxious for 
me to have the pleasure as he was for me not to be hurt 
by it ; and I — I was so crazy, so bitten, so altogether 
under the spell of the forest, that I was ready to die but 
I must see it at its greatest and best. The effect of it 
upon nerves and senses had been cumulative ; the im- 
pressions falling one upon the other, Hke the waves of 
a great sea, had seemed to stir the mind to its depths, 
till the whole being was alive with a kind of stormy 
delight. Shut within myself by my loss of voice, the 
excitement of the forest seemed to have plunged me in 
a kind of delirium. Waking or sleeping, my thoughts 
did nothing but engender enchanting vistas seen through 
pillared battalions of " big trees." 

The drive to the "Grove" was wonderful ; varied from 
what we had yet seen by vast aggregations of trees of 
younger growth, sequoias and pines in all the early 
majesty of the recumbent limbs which were as yet unshed. 
It had been late afternoon when we started; and the 
pine-filled hollows grew shadowy and mysterious as we 



FROM THE WEST. 25 1 

advanced. The forest was more the forest of the old 
fairy tales than ever — heights and depths all clothed with 
the incalculable riches of the slowly maturing harvest, 
the great conifers that stood rank upon rank, innumer- 
able almost as the sands of the sea. The incipient 
might of this soil, the energy of this Californian nature, 
was a thing to maintain the thought in ever new surprise, 
and the wonder went on increasing with the increasing 
stature of the trees until it culminated at last in the 
almost fabulous-looking monsters of Mariposa Grove. 
In view of these, the giants at which we had been mar- 
velling hitherto, sunk back into only the foremost rank 
of objects of which we had already had experience. The 
huge pines and cedars had seemed to have at least some 
relation with the venerable oaks and beeches of our Eng- 
lish parks; but these incomparable organisms, which had 
attained their full growth at the dim dawn of historic 
time, appeared to me as the products of seeds dropped 
from a vaster sphere. 

Measurements will convey a tolerably sufficient idea 
of size, but are wholly powerless to fill the mind with 
the admiring awe in which the spirit seems to gather 
renewal in its own humility. These vast trees, the oldest 
examples of organic life on the face of our planet, bear- 
ing upon their charred rind the marks of scorching fires 
which might have been coeval with the siege of Jerusalem, 
were felt to unite our frail beings with the past, and to 
present to the imagination the procession of the ages, as 
a chain of which we were among the latest links. That 
one of these sequoias, which is known as the "Grisly 



252 FLYING LEAVES. 

Giant," might have been standing where we saw it, at the 
fall of Troy. Not content with the guide-book testi- 
mony, we measured this patriarch at a distance of three 
feet from the ground, and found its circumference to be 
upwards of a hundred feet and the diameter about thirty- 
one feet. It was natural in searching for its small 
cones to find one's self upon one's knees, and it was 
natural also that the position should afford a certain 
appeasement to the tension of feeling its presence could 
not fail to create. There are about ninety sequoias in 
this portion of the "grove," many of fairer proportions, 
but none of such venerable antiquity as this. Of course 
we stood in our coach-and-four beneath the arch that 
has been cut through one of them, called the " Dead 
Giant;" and mounted the steps on to the prostrate 
trunk of another ; and we also bought some of the seed 
of a man who occupies a shanty hard by. There were 
young sequoias growing up. Will the conditions at 
present existing allow of their attaining the dimensions 
of their forebears, and will the children of a forth- 
coming civilization look upon them with feelings akin to 
those we have ourselves experienced? 

The shades of night were falling upon the forest when 
we mounted the coach to return to Clarke's. Before we 
had gone far it would have been impossible for any one 
of us to have hit the trail ; it needed the experienced 
eye and tried nerve of Mark Twain's famous driver, 
George Monroe, to guide the team through the intricacies 

of those devious ways. The two gentlemen, E and 

Mr. C , who were watching from the box-seat, were 



FROM THE WEST. 253 

full of enthusiasm at his easy mastery of the difficult con- 
ditions. E fancied he sat near Fenimore Cooper's 

old path-finders. Mr. and Mrs. M were behind ; I, 

alone within. There was no moon. Night in the forest 
was very solemn. 

We left early the following morning for Madera, 
hoping to sleep on board the train, which we looked to 

as quite a haven of rest. Mr. and Mrs. M were not 

yet up — they were staying in order to consult the doctor 
at Mariposa about the poisoned finger — and much to our 
regret, we did not see them to say good-bye. They had 

been delightful companions, and Mrs. M 's valiant 

cheerfulness had excited our warm admiration. We had 
been altogether fortunate in this chance juxtaposition 
with strangers, the C 's, who were still our fellow- 
travellers, being as sympathetic as they were intelligent 
and refined, and unselfish. 

The heat this day was oppressive and added to our 
fatigue when the delight of the eye did not lift us above 
the consciousness of our macerated bodies. At Coarse 
Gold Gulch we partook of a good dinner provided by 
the honest Germans, having shaken off some of the dust 
from' our garments, and refreshed ourselves with cold 
water. At the next change of horses we got down, and 
seeing some fig trees in full fruitage, demanded to buy 
what we could eat, and were let into a garden to pick for 
ourselves. This we did to such purpose, and had so 
greedily disposed of our harvest, that it was not till a 
large amount of fruit had been devoured that we began 
to look at each other and to exchange confidences about 



254 FLYING LEAVES. 

the State of our tongues and lips. We were all suffering 
the same symptom : a smarting, burning pain, which was 
momentarily increasing. I thought of the Princess in 
"The Magic Legacy," and took a glance at my nose to 
see that it had not visibly lengthened, and then, and 
only then, at the noses of my companions. The appear- 
ance of each being normal, we began to examine the 
remaining figs, and found that little villainous prongs 
gathered thickly about their stalks had brought this 
trouble upon us. As nothing worse was likely to come 
of it, we bore it with tolerable patience, and in an hour 
or two we were whole. 

It was night when we crossed the dreary flat of the 
prairie, and a young man who was among our fellow- 
passengers related to us the circumstances of a late 
robbery of a mail plying in these parts. Very little 
remark followed this somewhat inopportune narrative, 
but I fancied from certain movements that the gentlemen 
got an uneasy consciousness of their watches and pocket- 
books. The driver, who occupies the supreme post of 
danger on such occasions, dwelt with much insistence on 
the fatuity of the passengers and guardians of the mail in 
question, some of whom had lost their lives in vain 
resistance of the robbers. He laid it down that there 
was nothing to be done by reasonable men in such a 
situation, but to " stand and deliver " as they were bid. 
I hoped sincerely that such a compounding with the 
powers of darkness would not be demanded of any one 
of us ; it would be difficult to come out of an encounter 
conducted on such safe principles with self-respect intact. 



FROM THE WEST. 255 

During the silence that had fallen upon our party while 
this question was being revolved — a silence that allowed 
of the tuning of the ear to distant sounds — our coach- 
man lost the trail, which had become invisible, and we 
went bumping about in a dubious way over the tussucks 
and little hillocks of the prairie. It was not an altogether 
comfortable moment, and yet there was a certain sense 
of stimulated life in being for once, if only for an 
instant, off its beaten track. The position of the coach- 
man was the really painful one while it lasted, with 
votes of censure being passed on him from all sides. 
Before long the wheels were felt to have regained the 
road, and we bowled upon our way, cheered at length by 
the distant lights of Madera. 

At the inn we were met by the discomforting news, 
more hard to bear than exciting misadventure, that we 
could not find rest in the train that night, but must be 
torn out of our slumbers at a cruel hour of the morning. 
Rightly or wrongly, and we all agreed that it was 
wrongly, for we were too weary and weak to be nicely 
just, we were informed that, contrary to usage, our 
places in the car would not be available until the eve of 
an early start, and our fatigue redoubled upon us at 
the announcement. The supper at this vile inn was 
execrable, and E , exasperated, sent a message, con- 
ceived in the temper of the merest cow-boy, to the cook. 
It had clearly been faithfully delivered, for that giant 
functionary shortly appeared, knife in hand, intent on pro- 
voking 2, fracas. Happily there were many people about, 
whose interest it was to restrain his warlike ardour, and 



256 FLYING LEAVES. 

who obtained his retreat from the scene without actual 
collision having taken place. These things are among 
the chances of Western travel. 

Arrived at San Francisco, I fell voiceless, and felled as 
a tree from fatigue upon my bed. The price paid had 
been high, but the impressions received, the recollections 
stored, were abundantly worth it. 

Miss and our old friend, the negro waiter with 

the waxed moustache, were glad to welcome us back, the 
latter plying me more persistently than ever with the 
varied dainties of the 7nenu. 

" Have y' folks enjoyed your trip ? " he inquired in 
his glib speech. I did not at first understand the 
personal form of his address, and he had to repeat it; 
then I remembered that I had heard the same familiar 
expression at Salt Lake and other places of the Far West. 

Speaking of Salt Lake, we found that the Rudger 
Clausen case had been determined against the Mormon 
husband, and knew that this was the beginning of evil 
times for that misguided community ; a matter of necessity 
which we could not but regard with very mixed feelings. 

At San Francisco we had the shock of hearing of the 
death of Mr. Fawcett, a man who has always seemed to 
me as one of the few heroic figures of an unheroic age. 
His life, by whomsoever written, if executed with a just 
sense of its greatness and unity of purpose, will be an 
epic. It will probably be the fitting work of the proud 
woman who is the chief mourner in so great a loss. 

On the 8th of November we set our faces to the rising 
sun. It would have been too tedious to wait for 



FROM THE WEST. 257 

perfect recovery at San Francisco, so I set forth on the 
homeward journey in such poor case as I was. I had 
lost my voice in the Yosemite ; I wished I could have 
thought of it as left there, singing on its own account of 
the delights of that wonderful valley ; but the universe 
without and within seemed, for a time, to give back only 
jarring tones. Long wearisome days and sorrowful 
nights, with much coughing and little sleep, and constant 
recourse to disagreeable remedies, are recorded in my 
journal at this time ; but ojur personal griefs must have 
in them either a strongly dramatic element, or be spiced 
in the record with a very delicate literary flavour, to 
commend them to the sufferance of our fellow-creatures. 
Wanting to see St. Louis bridge and tunnel, we 
returned by the Union Pacific, and passed through many 
hundreds of miles in which there was scarcely an incident 
to relieve the oppressive monotony. Desert to the right, 
desert to the left ; the earth now sown with salt as with 
a curse, and anon, in districts greater than the whole of 
Britain, covered with a beggarly crop of ghostly looking 
sage-brush. A ranche, with stubble on which cattle were 
grazing, was held to be a cheering encounter. To be 
shut up in silence is, under the most favourable circum- 
stances, a trial to the inward resources, but now in 
addition to the scant entertainment for the eye which the 
line of travel afforded, we were unprovided with books, 
as we feared to add to the weight of the hand-luggage, 
which there was no one to help you to carry, by laying 

in a fresh stock. As it was, E was laden like a 

pack-horse with wraps and bags, containing changes of 



258 FLYING LEAVES. 

raiment, and I, in our rather frequent transits from on e 
car to another, went staggering under the weight of an 
over-charged dressing-bag. As it had been on the 
steamer so it was here — no hand in all our journeying in 
the West was ever lifted in help. Of all that we had 
seen of new and strange, few things had surprised me 
more than this : that women in America appeared to get 
so little aid from men. It must surely have some other 
ground than that which would appear to be the obvious 
one. After some observation and thought upon the 
matter, I came to the conclusion that the assumption 
that a woman was not sufficient to herself, would here 
be considered as the reverse of a compliment. I had 
remarked that in one or two movements of natural polite- 
ness on the part of my husband, the response had not 
been wholly gracious, and a story I heard, if significant 
of a general attitude, would go far to justify the men of 
the newer American States in withholding service from 
their countrywomen. One of these latter, looking as 
shattered as only an American woman can look after 
a week's journey, is said to have lifted her pale face 
from the pillow on which it had reclined, and put aside 
the cup of tea which had been charitably brought to her 
with the words, " I guess I could have fetched it myself 
if I'd 'a wanted." 

Since we changed at Ogden for the Union Pacific, I 
could not have fetched a cup of tea if I had wanted, for 
there was no buffet even for these lighter refreshments on 
board the new line. Our experience of the fare, when there 
was any to be got in these peripatetic hotels, had induced 



FROM THE WEST. 259 

US to load ourselves at San Francisco with a basket of 
comestibles ; the result of which, as they all turned out 
intolerably bad, was only to deprive us of the little 
change of scene involved in a roadside meal. Some 
warm milk at Ogden, suspicious as to colour, proved to 
be largely mixed with tea-water, and that which I then 

went with E in search of, there was no time to drink 

before the bell rung for starting. 

We were pausing before one of the stations in the 
early morning, when the sharp nasal cry of " Milk," caused 
the passengers to prick up their ears, and a girl passed us, 
a farm servant, her sleeves rolled up, her petticoats but 
little below her knees, and wearing heavy laced boots. 
My husband, returning from a foraging expedition, was 
informed by a gentlemanly looking man, that ''a lady 
had just gone through the cars with her cans." 

That evening, I being too ill to leave the train, E 

had to deposit a dollar for the glass in which he brought 
me the needed beverage ; and all the following day we 
went begging for a draught in vain. You could have had 
as much as you pleased at dinner or supper, but not a 
drop of their abundance will the purveyors at the stations 
supply to invalids or little children. The sick and dis- 
abled, the old and young, have generally a bad time of it 
in the scramble of a society in the course of construction. 

The stars are wonderful ; pools of light in the crystal- 
line blue of the heavens. The sunrise on the dun- 
coloured prairie this third morning of our return journey 
is impressive, bands of gold breaking through bars of 
tawny cloud forming a fine broad harmony. As we 



26o FLYING LEAVES. 

near the summit of the Rocky Mountains there is a good 
deal of snow within sight, and thick ice wherever there is 
water. The inexpressive face of things began to take on 
a little character yesterday, when we passed some curious 
rock-formation, reminding us of the pictures of Yellow- 
stone Park. Most curious of all is the shoot down a 
hill between two walls of rock, which is known as the 
" Devil's Slide." 

We have just changed carriages at a place called 
Cheyenne. It is somewhat amusing to note the impor- 
tance attached to these urban infants, the little towns 
that are making their bid for a future in the Far West. 
Two thousand inhabitants or less are sufficient to rank 
them as " cities." 

We parted here from a very interesting man, an 
Episcopalian clergyman, who went on by the branch 
line to Chicago. He told us he had passed much time 
among the Indians, and studied many of the dialects of 
the northern and north-western tribes. He affirms the 
several languages spoken among them to be full of 
inflections, and altogether advanced forms of human 
speech. He has dwelt for months with his wife and 
child in the midst of these natives, with whom they felt 
themselves "safer than in their home in Maryland." 
We were glad to hear their general intelligence and 
power of attachment so highly spoken of by one who had 
exceptional means of judging; and felt it soothing to our 
national pride to be told that it is in Canada that the 
defrauded natives have been first recognized as citizens 
to be protected by law — their lives in portions of free 



FROM THE WEST. 261 

America being deemed of no more account than those of 
weasels or snakes. It was new to us to hear, on this 
seemingly competent authority, that certain settlements 
of Indians, so far from dying out under the influences of 
civilization, are increasing at a rate even beyond the 
normal. 

In crossing this spur of the " Rockies " we have before 
us now, at near two o'clock, the whole of the grand range 
bounding the plain to the right of the line, and our spirits 
revive with the imposing spectacle. The prairie since 
first seen at sunrise has been covered with the short, 
sweet tussucks of the buffalo grass, and now in the 
middle distance the surface is for the first time dotted 
with trees. We have had our lunch on a table spread in 
our " section " of the car, and with it a cup of tea, which 
has refreshed our poor battered bodies. We have read 
a most impressive sermon of the Rev. Myron W. Reade, 
reprinted in the Denver Daily News, and that has re- 
freshed our spirits. The art of sermonizing, occasionally 
to effective purpose, would not seem to be extinct in the 
new world. The sun is shining ; the world is in progress ; 
the end is still hopeful if God is its Guide. 



262 FLYING LEAVES. 



LEAF XVII. 

ARRIVED at St. Louis about 7 a.m., after four days' 
and nights' continuous travelling. We break- 
fasted luxuriously, having first glanced through the long- 
wished-for letters from Scotland and Smyrna, and found 
the news in each to be more than good. Then I took 
a bath, and went directly to bed, where I remained till 
supper-time. It was a day of such delicious rest, as it 
was almost worth while to have come to from the rack of 
those speechless and unspeakable days. New conditions 
develop in us new powers. The breaking up of habit 
implied in such a journey as that we have just accom- 
plished is felt, in a manner, to throw you back naked 
upon the bosom of nature. All your civilized require- 
ments are shown to be but external things, which you 
may be called upon by various accident to part with at 
any moment and to do without. Your life for the time 
is taken out of your own providence, with the effect of 
making you careless of the morrow, about which you see 
so little good in "taking thought." The disposition of 
mind thus induced is like a return to that which makes 
the main sweetness of childhood. As I lay in the 
strange bed, luxuriating in the sense of the fresh linen. 



FROM THE WEST. 263 

one of the chains of association was touched, which 
make us recognize our lives as an essential unity. I was 
one in unbroken continuity with the child-self that 
had rested so contentedly in the haven of comforting 
arms. And yet what unlikeness lies hidden in the like- 
ness of these widely separated states ! What bitter sense 
of fatherlessness has been known in the interval ! And 
if the spent powers of the weary pilgrim of life are 
lapped in momentary repose, it is that they have been 
proved competent of themselves to meet or to bear with 
its various evils as they arise, and not that its burthens 
can be cast on any other. 

But the soft air of the southern city was salutary to my 
irritated lungs ; and in the silence which seemed more 
than a negative good after the ceaseless racket of the 
train, in the peace from interruption from venders of 
books and fruit, and men demanding at all hours to 
examine your tickets ; with the pictures which my letters 
had brought to me here in the West, of an Eastern 
garden with its oranges and cypresses as the back- 
ground to a beloved group, and with the hope of a new 
good in my daily life which other letters had opened to 
me, I lay through the long hours in a state of dreamy 
consciousness of a happiness which was more recreating 
than sleep. Added to all, there was a sense of escape. 
I had been very ill in the train, and sensible of great risk 
in the many changes at all hours of the evening and early 
morning that we had to make. My only hope had been 
to get to St. Louis and lay my bones in a bed there 
before the worst ; and now I was thankful for myself, and 



264 FLYING LEAVES. 

a thousand times more for my husband, that the worst 
had passed. 

November iT^th, — We are again on our way. There is 
still so much to be seen and done before taking pos- 
session of our berths for the i6th of December in the 
Servia. 

A policeman who had accompanied my husband in his 
visit to St. Louis bridge had said that the bridge was of 
steel, but that the best of its strength had lain "in the 
brains of the builder." 

The part of Illinois we are traversing this morning is 
the prettiest, homeliest bit of road we have anywhere 
seen from the car windows. Even at this late season we 
are suffering a little from heat, and it is not all the interior 
heat of the carriages which it has not been thought 
necessary to raise to boiling point, but due to sunshine 
and southerly airs. Most of the trees with which the 
fields are studded, and of which we occasionally pass by 
thick groves, are standing in full leaf — russet and gold 
and a dark, warm red, with brighter touches on the 
tangled bushes of the foreground, while the undulating 
meadows are green as in spring. Truly a sight for sore 
eyes ! 

Two days and nights in the train before getting to 
Washington — nights and days which cough and chills, 
as the weather grew colder, made not always of easy 
endurance. A little ailing child, a boy of a year old, 
preternaturally good, and a worn, anxious, but unthrifty 
and ceaselessly talkative mother, were our companions 
amongst others. For the travelling needs of the patient, 



FROM THE WEST. 265 

wise-looking baby, no provision whatever had been made, 
and his little sick stomach was forced against its better 
knowledge to suck some nourishment from hunches of 
meat and to accept, in the failure of milk, of tea or 
coffee. It gave one the heartache to see it, with its 
little suffering, bloodless face, resigning itself to these 
injurious makeshifts. The second morning the poor 
mother told us that she had thought the little one would 
have died in the night. She slept, or rather waked, in 
the section next our own ; and the two had been so still 
through all the suffering that we had not known of the 
acute experience that was being lived through so near 
us. What a lonely thing is life, even in the midst of our 
fellow-beings ! Happily, with the quick alternations of 
infancy, the little creature rallied during the day, and I 
hope is now either recovered or at rest. Two cultivated 
and agreeable American ladies, who spent much of their 
lives in the city to which all good Americans are sup- 
posed to go when they die, were very kind and tender 
to the baby, and we were glad, later on, to improve our 
acquaintance with them in New York. 

Another of our fellow-travellers was a well-looking, 
youngish man, wha had seen a good deal of the world 
as he had knocked about it. He had been an actor, 
and seemed as such to have filled important roles. He 
had lately entered upon one in private life — that of 
husband to a rich young lady, and the attendant advan- 
tages I adjudged were still more to his taste. He 
expressed some curiosity to see the *' old country," but 
opined that the restrictions upon freedom to be there 



266 FLYING LEAVES. 

encountered would be more than his republican spirit 
could endure. While the words were upon his lips 
we were ordered to quit our car in the peremptory- 
tones which are brought to so high a pitch by the 
American official, and were settled in a far less com- 
fortable one on the branch line for Washington, when 
another official came, and with a motion of the head got 
us all off our seats, whereupon he turned their backs on 
a swivel, letting them down with a loud bang, and left us to 
make volte-face whether we would or no, and to arrange 
our luggage, of course entirely unaided, according to the 
new conditions. The proceeding was doubtless directed 
to our advantage, but the manner of it was so arbitrary 
that I could not help feeling my own sense of personal 
liberty infringed in a manner from which, in the "old 
country," one is safe. 

Arrived at Washington, we had a last glimpse of the 

ruder aspect of American manners, when E , having 

burthened himself with the heavy dressing-bag in addition 
to his proper load, left the now lightened but still large 
luncheon-basket to my share. I carried this unwieldy- 
looking object with what grace I could, while bent with 
laughing at the picture which presented itself to my 
inward eye. Our friend, the ci-divant actor, who had 
taken every opportunity during these two days of light- 
ening the way for us with bits of personal history and 
other matters, true to us to the last, was swaggering 
along the endless platform at my side, his stalwart form 
erect, his chest well opened, and his wholly unincumbered 
arms rhythmically swinging. Either his luggage was in 



FROM THE WEST. 267 

his pocket, or this was not his destination — I forget 
which — but there was something in the juxtaposition of 
this overtaxed weakness on the one hand and that un- 
employed strength on the other which appealed to my 
British sense of humour, and made me thus merry under 
difficulties. I am bound to say that this was the last 
opportunity I had of drawing amusement from such a 
source. From this time forth another phase of American 
life unfolded itself to us, and the record to be found in 
my notes, and more indelibly in my mind, is invariably 
one of cordial kindness and well-bred courtesy. 

Should any one be desirous of enjoying to the full the 
comforting sense of human helpfulness and sympathy, . 
let him take a journey of months through the Western 
States, then come to anchor in the Eastern. Further, 
if he is one who likes to put a very sharp point to his 
experience, let him get himself ill by the way, and the 
effect of contrast will be complete. 

The rest we are enjoying at Washington, of all 
American cities we have seen the fairest to the eye, is 
very welcome. Our hotel, the Ebbit House, is all that 
can be desired ; beautifully kept, comfortable and even 
homelike ; the table excellent, and the little suite allotted 
to us, inviting to the repose of which one of us at least 
is in need. Here we have delivered a few of our letters 
of introduction, and made some of those acquaintances 
which divide the mind between pleasure and regret — 
pleasure at the encounter with genial or distinguished 
human souls, and regret that the gulfs of time and space 
will shortly cut them off from us. 



268 FLYING LEAVES. 

The air is soft here at Washington, the surroundings 
charming, the streets pleasantly relieved by trees, the 
city finely planned. The avenues radiating from the 
capitol make a grand change from the rectangular lines 
of streets whereof the eye grows so weary. The capitol 
itself is a building with great elements if with many faults, 
and from its central position, dominates the city and 
neighbourhood with imposing effect. 

We have just been favoured with an interview with 
President Arthur, and while waiting for admittance to 
the great man, have been shown through the chief rooms 
of; the White House. It strikes me as being just such 
a dwelling as beseems for the temporary habitation of 
the first citizen of a great Republic; solid, plain, and 
sufiicient. The decorations which have been executed 
during Mr. Arthur's presidency and under his direction 
are such as to reflect high credit both on his taste and 
that of the artist, Mr. Louis Tiffany of New York. The 
Mosaic glass of the windows of the inner hall or corridor 
is a novelty to us, and especially beautiful. 

The interview with the high functionary was very 
short, there being many other persons awaiting their 
turn of speech, though only one lady beside myself. 
I conclude there is not time in the short four years of 
office for a president of the United States to learn the 
politeness of kings ; and indeed the time of a man whose 
hands are personally so busy with the executive, must 
naturally appear of such paramount value as to dwarf 
the pretensions of the time of others to consideration. 
Under these circumstances it was but fitting that this 



. FROM THE WEST. 269 

room full of people, though in a country where beyond 
all other time is money, should wait through the whole 
hour after that of appointment, without undue show of 
impatience. 

When the door at length opened, there advanced with 
weighty step a tall, well-made, very upright man of 
powerful physique. The authority in which he is still 
dressed, which however vast cannot he said to be other 
than *' brief," had not sufficed to give his manners the 
ease which might have lightened the oppression of others. 
He had the air of coming to this assembly unwillingly, 
as at importunate summons. It is naturally to be under- 
stood that such a reception cannot be other than a 
bore to any of the great persons who are called upon to 
endure it ; but I imagine that the infliction is mitigated 
to those born in the purple, by the consciousness of the 
hereditary skill they are able to bring to bear upon it. 
If the face of President Arthur expressed no enjoyment 
in the exercise of faculty, it was eloquent of endurance ; 
as I looked at him I could but think of the words of his 
countryman, " It's dogged that does it." 

The President's first pause was before a gentleman who 
for some reason or other appeared anxious to introduce his 
little son. The great man clearly failed to see the rationale 
of this proceeding, for a slightly puzzled expression came 
into his eyes as he turned them on the child. He 
responded in a few civil, constrained words, and without 
looking round, tossed a newspaper which he had held in 
his hand on to the writing-table behind him. This 
movement was so startlingly sudden that it revealed to 



270 FLYING LEAVES. 

me as in a flash the unworthiness of a situation into 
which an inconsiderate curiosity had led us. The 
President of the United States had stronger work to do 
than that of the exchange of inanities at a morning call. 
We heartily wished ourselves out of it, but it was too late 
to withdraw. Our turn came next, and we wound off the 
few superficial remarks with which we were charged, and 
answered the President's polite questions, with as little 
waste of time as was coherently possible ; then we bowed 
ourselves out, and I carried away a pleasant impression 
of President Arthur's really fine face looking grateful 
and relieved. 

November 20th. — An easy journey in a Pullman car, 
through beautiful, cultivated country, brought us to 
Philadelphia. The change of climate was gradual, but I 
carried a too-sensitive barometer within, and was obliged 
to forego all sight-seeing with the one exception of the 
plain, Quaker-like hall in which the Declaration of In- 
dependence was signed. Before visiting this site of a 
deed which in importance is second to none in human 
history, we had called upon a very remarkable citizen 
of the Philadelphia of to-day. 

Mr. C is widely known as a philanthropist, his 

acts of beneficence extending far beyond his native city. 
A keen man of business, he has risen wholly by his own 
effort, possessing the magic touch which seems to have 
turned the most unpromising undertakings, to which he 
has set his hand, to gold. If he has picked up a business 
which some inept fellow-mortal has ruined, it has grown 
healthy and productive under his fostering care. A rare 



FROM THE WEST. 27 1 

combination — his tact in gathering and in distributing 
wealth appear to be equal. He squares accounts with 
Fortune every year, placing the whole of his immense 
surplus income, not in bonds or securities, to accumulate 
an inert mass, but in channels where it may be expected 
to bear interest in the added well-being of thousands. For 
the rest, a man whose staunch honesty, and many virtues 
public and domestic, have given him a key by which he 
seems to have unlocked all hearts. The office in which 
he received us was made interesting by varied tributes 
from the persons of widely different character and manner 
of life with whom he had had relation. He appeared 
incapable of seeing his fellow-beings without indulging 
himself in the pure pleasure of doing them service. 
After putting his carriage at our disposal and offering us 

other attentions, which E alone was able to profit by, 

he spread before us an array of lovely little porcelain 
cups and saucers, and enjoined me to choose one for 
each of us as a memento of our visit. We are all too apt 
to take our individual experiences as typical ; I will not 
therefore say that the trait was American, when at 
parting, this gentleman, whose good deeds have made him 
honourably known and beloved in many lands, put into 
my husband's hand an envelope containing three little 
pamphlets : one an elaborate description of the various 
objects and adornments of this office-room ; another the 
account of his library and its treasures ; and a third, the 
memoir of his life and acts, and an estimate of his 
character, and even, indirectly, through mention of a 
portrait, of his personal appearance, which must have 



272 FLYING LEAVES. 

brought a blush to the cheek of any one of a nature 
more sophisticated. 

Although I have forborne to characterize this trait 
as American, there was a simplicity, a youthfulness, so to 
say, in the offering of such unneeded credentials, which 
seemed to be the outcome of a society in an early stage 
of its development. I imagine that youth is everywhere 
solicitous that its conduct and character shall have 
the stamp of external approbation, and the successful 
endeavour to repress all manifestation of this desire is 
more often the result of self-consciousness than of 
genuine modesty. 

My husband was more than all else delighted with his 
visit to Girards' College. 



( 273 ) 



LEAF XVIII. 

ON the evening of the 25th, we find ourselves at 
Boston, having passed through New York on 
our way. These New England States have a homelike 
look to British eyes — the ground has been long under 
culture, and the towns have an air of respectable middle- 
age. Much of the scenery between Philadelphia and 
Boston is very beautiful ; the impress of man's hand is 
everywhere, but only to educe, not as yet to destroy — 
the earth has been educated to beauty and service. 

We are very well lodged in the Vendome, which is a 
fine hotel, although the management, judged of by the 
tone of the notices which are everywhere displayed, 
would seem somewhat unfriendly. The traveller is 
" required " to lock his door when he retires for the 
night, as well as by day when he has left his room. 
The use of an iron is " positively forbidden " to him, or, 
in this case, to her. "The proprietors will not be 
answerable for boots and shoes left at the chamber- 
doors ; " with other cautions in the same peremptory style 
concerning the use of baths, etc., and not a single word 
to ensure civility or give comfort to the poor " guest " 
whose " whole duty " is thus insisted on. But the 

T 



2 74 FLYING LEAVES. 

slight chill felt on reading this lecture is quickly dis- 
sipated, for nowhere is the contrast between the crudity 
of the Western and the comparative mellowness of the 
Eastern States so marked as it is at Boston. If at 
Washington already we experienced the balmy effect of 
human fellowship and sympathy as applied to the wounds 
which the rough contact of the West had dealt us, at 
Boston, where we linger longer, and have more extended 
social connections, we are feeling it yet more. It is a 
keen interest, and may be a rare pleasure, to make ac- 
quaintance in the flesh with those whom we have long 
known in so much of the spirit as is contained or can be 
got at in their books. We are happy in that in no case 
has disappointment awaited us at this point of the fulfil- 
ment of wishes long entertained. We are enjoying the 
privilege of intercourse with all or nearly all that Boston 
contains of literary eminence, and see what truly genial 
specimens of the best, to which humanity has yet attained, 
are to be found in the American gentleman and lady. 
All that is most worthy of preservation in the original 
grain is presented more acceptably through this delicate 
polish. Then it is possible that we of the old world are 
sensible of a certain stimulation in the contact with a 
people in whom the sap of life is still actively rising, in 
whom the season is of the spring, who are subject to 
impulse and capable of indiscretion. 

In Boston, while the social atmosphere is stirring, it is 
no longer unsettled. It has already a past, which for 
America is almost of reverend antiquity. It may be 
said even to look back upon its Augustan age, of which 



FROM THE WEST. 275 

only a few of the lights are still left : foremost among 
whom is of course Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. From 
the window of his study he showed us the " aviary " 
which had furnished the subject for one of the tenderest 
and most perfect of the poems in " The Iron Gate." I 
could like to indulge my pen with a sketch of the poet 
and his environment ; but I should feel it an unfair use 
of privilege. If biography, as it has come to be under- 
stood, has added a terror to death, life so active and 
beneficient as that of Dr. Holmes, should surely keep 
vivisectors at bay. And this allusion reminds me that 
at the luncheon party from which we have just returned, 
the subject of Froude's "Life of Carlyle," of which the 
final volumes are just out, has been handled lightly, if 
eagerly, in the true spirit of conversation. It is need- 
less to say that questions which occupy attention in 
England, are discussed with equal fervour here. Admir- 
ation of the Spartan courage of Mr. Froude's love 
divided the day with astonishment at the immovable 
calm with which he has maintained his ground against 
all comers. Attempts were made to strike an equitable 
balance in estimating the effect upon each other of the 
two powerful and in some respects repellant individualities 
of Carlyle and his wife, and comparisons were instituted 
between the life-work and character of the former and 
that of his friend Emerson. That the leaning should 
have been, as it seemed to us, unduly in favour of the 
American seer, was no more than was natural in this 
place. In regard to the relations between Carlyle and 
his brilliant "Jennie," one lady took shame to herself 



,^^ FLYING LEAVES. 

for the interest she was constrained to feel in affairs 
which should have been private to the lives of those two 
gifted and unhappy people ; an interest which she affirmed 
to be little different in kind from that of the old women 
who gossip over their tea-cups. Surely this was taking 
too narrow a view. If there are persons who are stimu- 
lated to such inquiry by idle curiosity, there are deeper 
relations in these problems which commend them to a 
higher order of minds. Everything which adds to our 
knowledge of the workings of the human heart is a gain. 
There is something infinitely pathetic in the spectacle of 
these two proudly defiant souls, this morbidly sensitive 
man of genius, this exacting, unsatisfied woman, delivered 
over in the silence of death to the clamour of public 
opinion ; but I think that whatever may be urged against 
either, they were neither of them too tender to their own 
defects to have concurred in the course which Mr. 
Froude has adopted had they found that it ministered to 
a human need. We have seen of Carlyle, that bitter as 
he was to others, he did not spare himself; and the 
giving up his sick and suffering heart to cruel dissection 
in the interests of truth is an act which will go far in 
coming time to reinstate the moral being of the man 
upon the pedestal from which it has declined. As for 
the utterances of his later time touching his contem- 
poraries, they were " full of sound and fury, signifying 
nothing " to those aware of the conditions out of which 
they arose. One only in the company, in weighing the 
case between Carlyle and his wife, gave the verdict in 
favour of the former. It was on the ground that he 



FROM THE WEST. 277 

having loved most, to him should the most be forgiven ; 
and I think that judging the parties on their own testi- 
mony, this verdict was correct. 

Miss S , who was present at the discussion yester- 
day, has just called, and has asked what I thought 
could be the nature of the gain to humanity from such 
disclosures. The assurance that it was a gain had lain 
unreasoned in my mind as a part of my faith in truth 
itself; but thus called upon to particularize, it dawned 
on me, that pathetic, even melancholy as it was to see 
these remains dealt with as they now are, thousands of 
homes will possibly be the happier for the revelation of 
the sad secrets of this one. So much of reticence exists, 
and rightly, with regard to domestic relations, the angles 
of character as seen near at hand, are touched, if spoken 
of at all, with so delicate a euphony, that a false idea of 
the measure of human perfection at present reached, has 
spread itself abroad, to add to the intolerance of the 
young, the self-despair of the old, and the dissatisfaction 
of all from whose eyes the scales of passion have fallen, 
at what is thought to be the exceptional crookedness of 
their individual lot. 

Returned from Trinity Church, the stately glowing 
interior of which impressed us much on our entrance; 
but that impression was soon forgotten in admiration of 
the sermon delivered by Phillips Brooks. It is long 
since we have heard the " trumpet so blown in Zion ; " 
blown with a sound so clear and unwavering, and yet in 
its width of application offering so little occasion for 
dispute. We were fortunate in being very near the 



278 FLYING LEAVES. 

preacher, otherwise we are told his too-rapid delivery 
mars the effect of his brilliant eloquence. As we were 
placed, thanks to the kindness of a considerate and all- 
prevaihng friend, we did not lose a word. 

Much occupied as we are with our white American 
friends, we lose no occasion of talking with and gathering 
information concerning the coloured people whose 
presence gives distinctive character to most American 
interiors. We have again a waiter whose ministrations 
we prefer; on the whole the most sympathetic and 
intelligent negro we have met with. He has told us 
much about his family, and his soHcitude in regard to 
the education of his children. He is very musical, which 

E divined from his appearance, the form of his brow, 

and a something rhythmical in his movements. He has a 
cultivated singing voice, and plays and passionately loves 
the violin. He has invited us to visit him, his wife, 
and children in their house, and if we can contrive to do 
this when he is there, we shall also hear his voice and 
fiddle. 

The result of our inquiry and personal observation of 
this dark population of the States goes far to deepen the 
conviction that they are rapidly becoming Americanized. 
When I say "rapidly," I use the word relatively to the long 
stretches of time demanded for the processes of evolution. 
What is certain is, that only by the rarest exception, if at 
all, have we come across typical specimens of the negro 
such as he is painted in books written previous to the 
war between the North and the South. The full-blooded 
African of to-day might not unfrequently represent a 



FROM THE WEST. 279 

Greek athlete cast in bronze, while his manners and 
speech compare favourably with those of the whites 
among whom he has been bred. If in the north he is 
never able to rise to high place in the social scale, and 
rarely to attain to wealth, these facts are sufficiently 
accounted for without having recourse to the suggestions 
of an absolutely insurmountable inferiority of intellect 
and character. Whatever may be the native quickness 
of the blacks, the inherited aptitudes for learning are of 
course wanting to them, and their perceptions would be 
still further undeveloped in relation to commerce, by 
which the great fortunes are accumulated, than to 
agriculture. In the south, where the social ostracism of 
race is equally discouraging, a large proportion of the 
black population has nevertheless advanced to wealth 
and consideration, as the owners of estates formerly in 
the hands of the white planters, once the aristocrats of 
the American continent. 

I have been able to obtain on the spot very little help 
which I felt to be satisfactory in any attempt at a forecast 
of the possible future of the black citizens of the States. 
There seems to be a general indisposition to allow of 
that gradual improvement of the type which facts 
appear to guarantee. When I point to some subject 
finer in form and more intelligent in expression than the 
common, I am told that he is a descendant of a superior 
African tribe. I am far from denying that there may have 
been considerable variation in the quality of the original 
stock, but it certainly must strike an unprejudiced 
observer that the peculiar sharpness of feature and keen- 



28o FLYING LEAVES. 

ness of expression to be found in these superior specimens 
of negro, are very American characteristics. This 
tribal solution appeared to me the more unsatisfactory 
in that the handsomer and more intelligent blacks are not 
isolated individuals, but are closely led up to by others, 
and seem indeed to present the perfected type, to which 
the entire mass is tending. Even granting that this could 
be wholly accounted for by marriage of negroes of finer 
with those of inferior strain (I am speaking only of un- 
mixed blacks), it still remains that the proclivity of the 
entire race is strongly progressive. Were it otherwise, 
such marriages might just as well have resulted in the 
degradation of the higher characteristics. 

Another fact which seems to me to bear upon the 
marked capacity of the African race for development 
under favourable influences, climatic and other, is the 
apparently disproportionate advance made by the men in 
comparison with the women. If the finer specimens of 
Negro were all traceable to differences in the original 
stock, such examples should be found as often among 
one sex as the other. If on the other hand one of the 
chief factors in the evolution of the higher tendencies of 
the inferior race, is contact with the superior, the slower 
rate of advance observable among negro women has its 
prima facie justification in the circumstance of their lives 
being led much further apart from such influences. Of 
the fact of the physical inferiority of the negro women, in 
any case of their greater deviation from what civilized 
mankind is agreed to regard as the noblest type, there 
can be no doubt; all the coarser, distinctively African 



FROM THE WEST. 28 1 

peculiarities, existing in a far more marked degree among 
the females than the males. Indeed, with very few ex- 
ceptions, the women we saw were as grotesquely ugly 
to-day, as both sexes have heretofore been painted. 

The indisposition on the part of the white American 
to a candid discussion of this question, may probably 
owe something to a fear of possible approach. Judging 
from appearances, the mixture of races since the war has 
made scarcely any progress ; naturally it is far more slow 
than when they stood to each other in the relation of 
master and slave. And yet there are facts which seem 
to declare that the feeling of separateness, that barrier of 
blood which is felt to exist between us of the Old World 
and our black fellow creatures, has for the white American 
a less imperious authority. How else is it possible to 
account for the elopements of white women with negro 
men, generally in a lower social grade, which form a not 
uncommon item of newspaper gossip. It is clearly 
natural that familiarity with these dark skins from birth 
should have caused them to be regarded with much less 
of merely instinctive repugnance, and that what remains 
of recoil from them in the American of to-day, is more 
reasoned, and so to say voluntary, than it is quite easy for 
us of the Old World to understand. 

The Americans, if free from the clash of interests 
which harass and perplex the older peoples, and standing 
in no danger from external foes, have yet in prospect a 
fair share of trouble, some of which would seem to be 
growing upon them as with the fatality of disease. Of 
such I imagine they would themselves regard this 



282 FLYING LEAVES. 

tenacious mass of negro life, multiplying like a leaven 
in their midst, as the most embarrassing. It is doubtless 
awkward in a country ruled by majorities, to have to 
reckon with so disproportionate an increase at the base 
of the social scale. And yet it is a serious reflection, 
that, but for the large amount of negro labour in the 
markets of the rich and powerful northern States, the 
difficulties inherent in democracy would be felt with 
quite overpowering effect. If the wealthy citizens of 
New York and Philadelphia, of Washington and Boston, 
were wholly given over to the ministrations of untaught, 
unkempt Irish emigrants, these places might indeed 
still remain the haunts in which money was amassed, but 
they would cease to be the resorts in which it was spent. 
The millionaire who had to brush his own boots, and, 
wet or dry, to drive his own carriage, and his lady forced 
to do her household chares in the sweat of her brow, 
would seek out other fields wherein to enter upon the 
fruits of their labour. In the interest of those less 
fortunate ones tied to the spot, there would be a vast re- 
crudescence of the system of great public establishments, 
the hotels and boarding houses, to the still further dis- 
countenance of the home, and suppression of the family. 
As negro labour alone made the cultivation of cotton in 
the most southerly of the States possible, so now negro 
labour alone makes Hfe under civilized conditions, feasible 
to the white American. 

I have touched in due course in these " Flying Leaves " 
upon the at present dormant, but still gathering evil of 
Mormonism. This despotism, more absolute than the 



FROM THE WEST. 283 

papacy as it existed in its most authoritative hour, is a 
curious and certainly an uncomfortable anomaly in the 
midst of a federation of free States. That it is a danger 
in so vast and vigorous an organization, can hardly be 
maintained; but it is unquestionably a menace to the 
peace of the union, and an obstacle to good govern- 
ment. It is wretched and humiUating to have to meet 
ideas, however repugnant, with fire and sword. 

The case of the Indian can hardly be accounted a 
serious difficulty. He is a subject rather of pitying 
scorn, or remorseful sentiment, according to the point 
of view taken, than of active uneasiness. Nature with 
her varied economies is banded with civilized man against 
this disinherited child of nature. His demands on the 
earth are too great ; his hunting-grounds are too vast ; 
he desolates the place where he dwells. An incurable 
child, he would take all from the bosom of nature and 
return nothing ; so the universal mother herself has turned 
upon him, and is drying up the sources of his life. 

But the ill of ills is that which comes from insufficient 
virtue in the body politic ; from the private greed which 
fears not to lay its hand on the most delicate machinery 
of the vessel of state, and to direct it to its own base 
uses ; from the brutal insolence of men whom ill-gotten 
wealth has enabled to bluster from a height, and scare 
from the service of their country all but the most 
hardened and voracious of self-seekers. That these 
things are so, I do not feel called upon to prove. They 
are facts openly enough attested, and never satisfactorily 
denied. That a certain discount may be taken for 



284 FLYING LEAVES. 

exaggeration or one-sidedness of view the candid 
observer is thankful to admit; but withal it must still 
remain that there is a vast, a startling amount of 
corruption in a young nation growing up so free of 
trammels, and possessed of so many and rare natural 
advantages. Some, who would close their minds to the 
logic of facts, will tell us that our own public men and 
institutions have been before now the subjects of like 
incrimination. It is scarcely necessary to deny this. 
We may shoot off our popguns of speech in the air ; we 
may call Mr. Gladstone a traitor to his country, and 
desire to see Mr. Chamberlain expiate his theories on the 
gallows ; but no one has ever said that the former 
embezzled the public money, or that the latter was in 
the pay of demagogues. The very costermongers 
would laugh at such propositions. A favourite plea with 
the partial friends of the great union is that it is still 
young, and may be expected to shake off such vices as 
it exhibits, with time. Every one of those on this side the 
ocean, whose goodwill to our younger cousin is sincere, 
must cordially wish that their evil tendencies are a 
slough that may thus be cast off. For my own part, 
though hoping everything from the victorious energy of 
this greatly endowed people, I have yet to learn that 
corruption is one of the characteristic marks of youth. 
It is surely more naturally allied to decay. Still, it may 
be hoped of this eager life, expanding under fortunate 
conditions, that it will in time show itself equal to the 
absorption of what is morbid in its mass, and to the 
extruding of what is effete. 



FROM THE WEST. 285 

It has recently been said on high authority that 
American institutions have the paramount merit of 
being accurately fitted to American needs. As against 
the testimony of eyes so clear I could not for a moment 
set my dimmer vision, supplemented by lesser knowledge, 
and possessing inferior opportunities for its exercise. 
But I cannot call to mind that what, judging from its 
sources, was the best American opinion which reached 
me on this subject, was at all so confident as Mr. 
Matthew Arnold seems to be of the perfect adaptation 
between the men and the means of government in the 
American union. So far from this, I have heard regrets 
on many sides, that if under the existing system a career 
is according to the formula ouverte aux talents^ it is 
closed to character. Of the vile missiles hurled at the 
rival candidates for the presidency, we have been daily, 
almost hourly, witnesses for three months. Something 
else than courage is needed to induce a man to face a 
contest in which the most delicate relations of his life, 
the most sacred feelings of his heart, the honour of those 
nearest to him, are all torn from their enfoldings and 
staked upon the game. The demagogues of the West 
like the fanatics of the East, not content with cursing 
their enemy, will blast the father who begot and the 
mother who bore him, and will ransack the grave of a 
dead wife to cast ordure upon her bones. Not courage 
alone, but a measure of some very crude alloy is 
required to carry a man unscathed through an ordeal 
like this. It would seem, however, that a wise prescience 
has guided the decision of the majority, in the present 



286 FLYING LEAVES. 

crisis. The elected president is eminently what the 
Americans know as " a strong man," and is felt by those 
who have the means of judging to be one likely to use 
his strength to honest purpose in the repression of 
abuses. 

Over and above these inherent difficulties there are 
minds also of those to whom culture is dear, who find 
the unrest of American political life in itself abhorrent. 
I am often reminded in this later part of our visit, of the 
words of our pale friend, the artist at the Yosemite : 
" Has it never occurred to you that while you of the Old 
World are striving to cast down, we of the New are bent 
on building up ? " Nothing beneath sun or moon can 
maintain a statu quo. When democracy has achieved for 
its part that the negro who goes to vote at the nearest 
village, taking with him a basket in which to "bring 
back the suffrage," is as good a man at the poll as Dr. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Honourable Robert C. Win- 
throp, James Freeman Clarke, or Mr. Francis Parkman, 
its tide is presumably at flood and its turn may be looked 
for ere long, unless the rank and file of the human race 
turn out to be educationable in a degree they have never 
yet shown themselves to be. 



( 287 ) 



LEAF XIX. 

Boston, November 30th. 

WHEN returning to our starting-point we passed 
through New York on our way to Boston, 
we had made what the Americans call a " round trip " 
through this vast continent. We have taken in much 
of new and strange, much of simply delightful, more 
especially in the aspects of nature, something of anti- 
pathetic ; have verified certain facts, and redressed certain 
misconceptions. However little knowledge may on 
my part have been brought to bear upon the subjects 
presented, however merely *' impressionist " was the 
attitude sought to be maintained, it was inevitable that in 
a field so new and interesting, certain reflections should 
formulate themselves. Much that I have now seen I had 
heard better described, but "things seen are stronger 
than things heard," and stir the mind to profounder 
depths. 

I have to confess that, in our wanderings through the 
States, democracy, as an institution, has often been felt 
by me with a pressure which rather took from the sense 
of individual liberty. It is, in any case, far from wearing 
so idyllic an aspect in other parts of the Union as it did 



288 FLYING LEAVES. 

in Wisconsin, where the genial humanity of the German 
character appeared to have smoothed the worst asperities 
of the system. Elsewhere, in the trains, in, or as they 
say on^ the streets, wherever you may go throughout the 
West, you meet the same air of confident self-assertion 
by which each man seems to declare himself as good as 
you and something better. To a system undergoing 
trial on so vast a scale, to a question so tormented by 
discussion, it might seem impertinent on such superficial 
acquaintance to allude in praise or blame ; but meeting it 
in full operation for the first time, I find it impossible to 
pass it by in silence. 

The method by which the greatest happiness for the 
greatest number, which is the desire of every friend of 
human-kind, may best be promoted, is as yet very in- 
determinate. Nor, it seems to me, has America, with its 
boasted equality, its aggressive liberty, its vast wealth 
rapidly accumulating in individual hands, boundless 
material resource, passion for show, and political and 
social corruption, done much at present towards solving 
the problem. That these evils, common to all vast com- 
munities, do exist in America in an exaggerated form, no 
thoughtful American with whom I have yet spoken has 
attempted to deny. The political structure is allowed to 
be rotten to a point which threatens collapse should no 
reinvigorating element flow in ; and the social life would 
appear, on the testimony of public prints giving names and 
dates, and the regretful admission of well-informed persons, 
to share largely in this disorganization. How far de- 
mocracy may rightfully be credited with these results, is 



FROM THE WEST. 289 

a matter of grave concern to the human race ; with some 
of them in a degree, the system in its present stage of 
development has assuredly to do. The small rate of in- 
crease, which has long been a marked fact among the 
Latin races of the older Continent, is a reproach, a 
danger, and, to some extent, an anomaly in this branch 
of the Anglo-Saxon family in this wide New World. In 
this particular, at least, the influence of conditions due to 
democracy is clear. 

That a quiver full of arrows should be an undesirable 
possession amongst a people so frequently homeless as 
the American of the great cities, is a matter that speaks 
for itself; and it is no less certain that the acceptance 
of the life of hotels and boarding-houses in lieu of the 
home is caused by the difficulty, where all would be 
masters and none servants, of obtaining efficient domestic 
help. 

What a fluctuating and rootless condition of things, 
where no worse, is suggested by the advertisements, 
common in the daily prints, of "A home for ladies 
during confinement ! " The domestic difficulty, verging 
on impossibility, of obtaining efficient and faithful female 
service, makes the office of motherhood even to the 
rich, one of severe restraint and anxiety. It is, perhaps, 
not surprising that in this young, striving, and personally 
eager and ambitious society, there is a growing dis- 
inclination to face responsibilities which circumstances 
have rendered so onerous. How much of infecundity 
on the part of the white race is due to an arbitrary 
interference with nature, how much to failure of vitality, 

u 



290 FLYING LEAVES. 

is a nice question ; but that the former is believed to 
exist to a vast extent, the pubUc denunciations from 
the pulpit and the press may be taken to witness. 

This selfishly calculated limitation of offspring ; this 
keen edge given to the passion of display, where display 
is the only open title to distinction; this iniquitous 
jobbery which pervades every office of the State; this 
power and credit of the raw and untrained men who 
are the most conspicuous figures in a society which has 
no ancestry ; this cynical tolerance of foul play which 
strikes one as so marked a feature, — to what are they to 
be attributed? Partly, I cannot but think, to a con- 
dition of things in which there exists no class whose 
glory it is to give its labour and spend itself for honour 
alone, or more nobly for love; partly, we must hope, 
to the ferment of as yet inchoate elements which will 
clear themselves with time, and bring forth some fine 
flavour of humanity to add to the final feast of progress. 

One fact is sure as the result of new experience — we 
are both conscious of an added liking for Americans. In 
my own case it is not for their institutions, their govern- 
ment, or manner of life, but for Americans themselves. 
Having come to an anchor for awhile in delectable 
quarters among genial people, we are resting in the satis- 
faction of curiosity and rejoicing in the quickening of 
sympathy ; and are inclined to think that the more this 
people is truly American, the more of time is allowed 
them to become " racy of the soil," the greater are their 
claims to respectful regard. In the wild and newly 
opened-up regions of the West, the heterogeneous social 



FROM THE WEST. 29 1 

elements have probably acquired little of local colour 
other than would be found under similarly repellant 
conditions elsewhere. In any case it is in the eastern, 
the New England States, that we first feel to recognize 
Americans at home. With privileges such as we enjoy, 
one must come to such knowledge with a mind charged 
with prejudice not to feel that you are making, or more 
properly improving, acquaintance with a highly interest- 
ing, more than this, with a really choice, variety of the 
human family. Here also there are homes, homes as a 
rule, not by way of exception. Negro servants abound 
in Boston and Washington, and the domestic difficulty 
would seem to be comparatively little felt, for the aspect 
of the streets is of itself sufficient to assure you that the 
houses are mainly private dwellings. 

Whatever exception individual taste may take to the 
physical beauty, attributed to the American offshoot of 
the Anglo-Saxon race, it can hardly be disputed that the 
new departure taken in its new environment, if not justify- 
ing the exclusive claims sometimes made for it, is marked 
by singular distinction. There may be too much develop- 
ment of nerve tissue for high health and the perfect con- 
dition on which much of beauty depends, but that very 
overplus gives an air of breeding to many a subject of 
the States, who will be found on nearer acquaintance to 
possess it only in posse. Note taken of all classes east 
and west, in mere regularity of feature, I am inclined to 
give the palm to Americans over the original stock. In 
harmony and variety of expression, as in fine quality of 
colouring, we Britons may, on the other hand^ still have 



k 



2 92 FLYING LEAVES. 

the advantage; but the superior beauty of hands and 
feet we must surely concede to the younger branch. 
Would that these beautiful high-bred hands would hold 
themselves too dainty for contact with the vile little 
instruments with which their owners are so constantly 
to be seen probing their teeth in public. The loveliest 
hand would be unwelcome to the clasp after such in- 
delicate manipulation of these objects as is sometimes 
beheld. That this uncleanly practice is common in a 
degree to most of the (otherwise civilized) nations of the 
old world, only proves that we in our little island have 
reached a point in personal habits whereto it would be 
creditable for all to follow without delay. I believe that 
the best mannered Americans have already done so, or 
have arrived at the end, if not by imitation, by way of 
that respect for the feelings of others which is a station on 
the high-road to all good manners. It has been my 
fortune to know cultured Americans who carried the ease 
which comes from noble simplicity and the gentleness 
which results from reverence for the individual, to the 
highest possible pitch ; and this notwithstanding that 
the axiom on which they would seem to base good- 
breeding is different to that above assigned ; and further, 
that the conditions under which life is lived in the New 
World, are distinctly adverse to its cultivation on these 
grounds. 

" The basis of good manners," according to Emerson, 
"is self-reHance." It may be doubted if this is a fortu- 
nate dictum. What a superstructure have the great bears 
of mankind raised upon this foundation : Samuel John- 



FROM THE WEST. 293 

son, Peter and Frederick the Great, Carlyle the historian 
of the latter, and a Hst too long to enumerate ! The 
fact is that self-respect which should have its share in 
the result, is fatal, when, from want of sympathy, it over- 
powers the claims of others ; and it may be said that 
of all things an aggressive assertion of equality, which 
being a balance very difficult to hit, is generally an 
assertion of superiority, is the most hostile to it. It may 
well be matter of surprise that under such difficulties so 
high a tone is occasionally attained on this continent ; 
but in the American mind there is to be found a keen 
sense of the exquisite in all things of which knowledge 
can be reached by any paths as yet accessible to it. 

I have remarked on my surprise at the little help, 
received in this country by travelling women. I would 
willingly suppress this wholly unexpected result of my 
personal observation, opposed as it is to general belief 
and testimony j but such glimpses of the surface of fact 
as these passing notes aim at taking, can possess no 
manner of interest if untrue to an individual point of 
view. It is possible that a woman in company of her 
husband may be assumed to be in no need of help ; even 
though where the powers of the latter are much over- 
taxed, he should be compelled to leave her a share of the 
work performed elsewhere by railway porters. But on 
looking back I see that already on board the Bothnia^ the 
scant attention which certain single ladies, acute sufferers 
from sea-sickness, obtained from their travelling country- 
men was striking. One hand was so invariably offered 
in aid of tottering steps, that its owner came to be re- 



294 FLYING LEAVES. 

garded as a kind of benevolent Briarius ; but the soul 
which made this member ubiquitous was that of an Irish- 
man, who was crossing the Atlantic for the first time, 
and who moreover was much disturbed as to his own 
internal economy by the disquieting experience. 

I am bound, however, to say that if the strange ladies 
on our outward voyage were left to shift for themselves, 
nothing could be more tender or untiring than the 
watchfulness of the American husbands, still more of the 
American fathers, over their respective charges. And 
the exactions of the ladies, old and young, were in pro- 
portion. It occurred to me that if this disposition to 
bear with the whole weight, when a slighter pressure 
would have sufficed, was general, it might well lead the 
male American to pause before embarking in a business 
which might prove so heavy a tax upon his powers. 
Withal I am unwilling to admit that my experience in 
this matter, tolerably wide as it was, can be other than 
accidental ; and in any case I am sure that in those 
examples of fine manners to which I have alluded, the 
Samaritan element of helpfulness to needy strangers 
would have been added to the rest. 

A trait of character which impels our liking, and calls 
for cordial acknowledgment, is the large tolerance which 
is a marked feature in this active and energetic people. 
Cynicism, no less than sympathy, may sometimes put on 
this aspect ; but American character, like the straggling, 
unfinished American cities, is laid down on large lines, 
and one is justified in thinking that with this people 
width of view and quickness of insight are generally to 



FROM THE WEST. 295 

be credited with the result. As has been said, our 
journey through the States occupied the portion of time 
precisely when the excitement of the Presidential election 
was at its highest. At New York, Chicago, Denver, and 
other cities, portraits of the rival candidates were every- 
where displayed ; the newspaper offices, more especially 
those of the illustrated prints, were centres of eager 
curiosity, and at San Francisco, where the final result 
was hourly awaited, the stream of passion might be said 
to be at flood. The crowd, pressing and swaying 
about the polling booths, seen at a distance, resembled 
swarming bees : the democrats carried effigies of cocks, 
and crowed until their vocal chords were in danger of 
cracking; a few of them saved their own voices by 
crowning themselves with the living fowl, and leaving it to 
perform its own part in the concert. But in the midst 
of this outward tumult, the really innocuous nature of 
the passions in play was generally remarkable. Very 
few if any fatal encounters due to political feehng were 
recorded in the newspapers ; women threaded their way 
through the crowded thoroughfares as unharmed as un- 
noticed ; and no sooner was the decision of the majority 
made known, than the entire ferment subsided, and was 
as if it had never been. One was driven to question if 
the mysterious issues between democrats and republicans 
had after all any very firm grip upon public feeling. It 
must, however, be remembered that something analagous 
to this reasonableness in bending to what is held to be 
self-constituted authority, was shown in greater dignity 
and perfection when, the struggle between North and 



296 FLYING LEAVES. 

South having come to an end, the citizen soldiers dis- 
banded themselves, and went, one to his farm, another 
to his merchandise, with not so much of bitterness in the 
nation's heart as led to a single political execution. That 
is a fact which deserves to be set up as one of the un- 
questionable triumphs of civilization. This fact, and 
others obscurely related to it, should suffice to assure 
onlookers in all parts of the world that in spite of im- 
perfection, want of fusion, and a certain risky tentative- 
ness, ideas in this wide new continent take a large sweep, 
and that to the completion of that part of the social 
problem, here being worked out, mankind is entitled to 
look with well-grounded hope. The courage shown in 
self-taxation, the gallant "clearing up" after work done, 
are circumstances all pointing in the same direction, and 
showing moreover a fine sense of social and political 
order. Whatever may be our individual views of the 
govermental form most conducive to the best interests 
of a community at any given point of space or progress, 
there is nothing to be got from stiffening the mind 
against what appears to be the order of development. 
The course of events with us at home is such as to 
imply that should they come to no unforeseen check, 
they must end by landing us also in democracy. It is 
this impression, grating against natural instincts in my 
own case, which gives a keen edge to my interest in 
marking the manifestations of this institution in an ap- 
propriate and unencumbered field. 

" The aristocracy of merit is the only one known to 
Americans," said a beautiful woman whose grand air 



FROM THE WEST. 297 

seemed to have marked her out for something equivalent 
in her own surroundings to a duchess. " An aristocracy 
of merit, — of which merit who are to be the judges ? " 
was my mental reflection. With all the desire in the 
world to show my good sense by a timely bow to 
the inevitable, I am unable to accommodate my mind 
to this idea. With more alacrity I could set about 
the household work, and the cooking of the family 
dinner. If my handsome parlour-maid marries a lord, 
and is taken into dinner before me, my poor little 
soul must surely be in an irritable state of ill-health if it 
should wince at a wound which goes no deeper than 
the cuticle. Of the right of the woman to her place 
according to certain arbitrary, and as I think, convenient 
rules, any one can be the judge. But when it comes to 
the sifting and weighing of more recondite qualities, 
when man or woman is to be appraised, weighed as 
against some other on mental and moral grounds, I feel 
it would be very difficult to satisfy us as to the judicial 
capacity of our assessor. We might refrain from dis- 
puting the verdict aloud, but our inward appeal against 
judgment would not be conducive to the serenity in 
which alone the spirit thrives. No, I do not love the 
thought of an aristocracy of merit ; not such, at least, as 
wears any badge that fashion, which is the caprice of a 
moment, can give or take away. The reverence of those 
who have been the better for the secret a man's toils have 
wrested from nature, the force he has directed, the beauty 
he has unveiled, the passion for which he has found the 
voice, is something very different from this. If that con- 



298 FLYING LEAVES. 

stitutes a charter of nobility, there have been, and will 
continue to be aristocrats under all governments ; only 
I apprehend with a marked preference for the less 
fussy and more stable forms. I would gladly retain 
certain social formulae to amuse the crowd withal, and 
keep it back from the holy of holies of the more sensitive 
inner consciousness. 

" Aristocracy of merit ! " I can fancy I feel already 
the dull point of measuring instruments upon me, and 
am certain that whatever of virtue might have fallen to 
my share, would vanish to the hidden centre of being, at 
the first touch of such unauthorized indiscretion. Surely 
it is better to keep some dry bones of circumstance to 
throw to the wolves, the ravening ambitions of the lower 
kind, in order that in fastening upon them they may 
leave to the higher life of man the peace in which it can 
alone expand. 

Thus, after what I have seen of it in its favoured 
habitat, it is clear to myself I do not love democracy 
in what it is proud to exhibit as the best of all its pro- 
ducts ; nay, rather, it is precisely in this, the fine flower 
of the institution, that I take the deepest exception to it. 

When I turn, from this its boasted achievement to what 
all must acknowledge as a difiiculty : the impossibility 
democracy hes under of supplying efficient domestic help 
from its own resources, the matter, as I perceive it, is 
certainly not mended. I cannot view the contempt cast 
upon a species of labour, which brings human beings 
into close and often beneficent relationship, as a healthy 
manifestation. The abhorrence of domestic service, 



FROM THE WEST. 299 

universal in the States, has the further disadvantage, 
from an economic point of view, of annulling an im- 
portant branch of industry, one suited in a special 
manner to many capacities and many temperaments. 
Of the toiling millions in all great communities, there 
will always be a large proportion, more especially among 
women, whose strength and resources are unsuited to a 
prolonged and doubtful daily struggle. To such, a 
house of service is a house of refuge. If the individual 
choosing such a comparatively quiet haven have some 
well-grounded knowledge of his or her calling, the 
situation is sufficiently independent and honourable to 
satisfy the demands of a reasonable self-respect. Where 
duties are clearly understood and reciprocal claims 
allowed, there is no more loss of personal liberty in 
domestic service than is everywhere willingly accepted by 
soldiers and sailors. It is true that even were educa- 
tion and tastes on a par between employer and em- 
ployed, there might still be needed for the right working 
of the relationship a certain reserve of manner; but 
that being a matter of disciplinary etiquette, need bring 
no sense of humiliation ; the same attitude is maintained 
by every captain of a man-of-war, even though his 
subordinate be a prince of the blood. 

" He who would be greatest of all, must be servant 
of all," This is eternally true. But as I look closely at 
the sentence, I see an inner gleam in it. In order to 
be servant of all, a man must be absolved from being 
the servant of one. Of the charge of his own personal 
existence he must to some extent be relieved. If his 



300 FLYING LEAVES. 

mission be in any sense universal, some part of his in- 
dividual burthen must be borne for him by others. 
Thus, all working together, may subserve the highest 
ends of the community, if only content to work within 
the hmit of natural capacity. 

Education, yes ; as much of it and as choice as may 
be found to the taste or advantage of the subject ; no 
insurmountable barriers to talent; no class distinctions 
that superior claims may not over-pass ; no etiquette 
which, soberly viewed, could take from the dignity 
inherent in any man ; above all things, no pressure upon 
conscience ; only an admitted social order working to 
the convenience of all, each grade with its own rights, 
advantages, and immunities. Such a state of things in 
its tendency to appease vulgar ambitions might be 
looked to to promote that joy in labour which is the 
most enduring source of human happiness. In the mad 
struggle to rise above a teeming social mass, whose units 
are indistinguishable but for their money-bags, all less- 
remunerative forms of industry pass into contempt ; and 
the feverish strain of the gambler alternating with the 
stupor in which he recuperates his powers, takes a place 
in thousands of lives which else might have been filled 
and fruitful with the worthier satisfaction of a calling 
fitted to faculty. 

But this is vain dreaming. It may not be. If for us, 
too, democracy is the portion of the future, we must 
" dree our weird." But by that time the confederated 
States will possibly have passed through their experience, 
and have come out at the other end. Who shall say 



FROM THE WEST. 3OI 

that we, the people of the Old World, sometimes weary 
and sick with the disquiet into which we have launched 
ourselves, shall not be found coming to America, as 
contingents of over-driven Americans come now to 
Europe, to recruit our jaded spirits in the salutary calm 
of the setting sun ? 

The manifest sympathy felt by most accomplished 
Americans for the " old country," has naturally had its 
part in developing our own more cordial liking for 
them. This sympathy, which seems to us to be all but 
universal among the educated classes, is felt as a solace 
in the present, and a ground of comfortable hope in the 
future. 

When the two great rival races of the Saxon and the 
Sclav are pitted against each other in open war, a con- 
tingency which stands before us of the Old World as 
a threat of the coming time, it is to the America of the 
States, and the Greater Britain of our American and 
Australian colonies, that we must look for the deter- 
mining balance of force in favour of the Saxon. If the 
influence of this race for the higher purposes of human 
development is not yet played out, has not even yet, as 
there is reason to believe, fully justified itself, it were a 
crime against humanity to suffer the friction of narrow 
personal feeling and unbrotherly prejudice on either side 
to mar a family union charged with such paramount 
duties. 

December loth. — We are again at New York, having 
left Boston with regrets so real that we have been 
driven to cheat them with hopes of renewing our visit 



L 



302 FLYING LEAVES. 

at no very distant date. New York must always possess 
a certain interest, as a focus of an intense life; but 
the winds are now very keen, and all I can do is to 
prepare to be well enough to profit by those good in- 
fluences of the voyage pretty sure to be experienced by 
one to whom has been given the "freedom of the sea." 

Our berths have long been secured on board the 
Servia, and advanced as is the season, we look forward 
to the crossing without distrust 

*' So dearly I have loved the sea, 
So oft its genial flood 
Has cooled my heart, I feel that we 
Are to each other good." 



THE END. 



\%